Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Blackberry-raspberry puree

I fear blenders. Okay, fear is the wrong word. I distrust blenders. Mostly because I always buy the second-cheapest blender at Target or Wal-Mart or wherever (because the cheapest one is assuredly a total piece of crap, right?), and the only thing I ever try to do with a blender is crush ice to make frozen drinks, which is inevitably a disaster. What always happens is that you end up with the finest of snows at the bottom of the blender while the cubes on the top are barely touched, or you add waaay too much liquid and get some kind of weird, icy slush. And all the while your kitchen is filled with the burning smell of overworked blender. Classic bartenders never had blenders anyway, so hardcore cocktailians frown on them, and drinks on the rocks are, er, more potent anyway. So my policy was: avoid blenders.

Until I schemed up a certain cocktail (next up) that would require a berry puree. A book I have suggested I could make my own, or order already-prepared fruit purees from France. So I went, reluctlantly, to the blender.

Blackberry-raspberry puree:
1/2 pint blackberries (from the farmers' market!)
1/2 pint raspberries
2.5 oz sugar syrup

I added the berries and syrup to the blender. With trepidation, I pushed the "puree" button. Moments later...perfectly smooth berry goodness. Even blenders deserve second chances, apparently. It was a sweet little story of redemption.*

*Although that's not quite where it ends. I still needed to strain out the seeds. This is the method I settled on: place a strainer over a bowl, like so.

Pour a little puree into the strainer at a time, and press the liquid through the strainer with a rubber spatula. (Every once in a while it helps to scrape the underside of the strainer with a clean spatula, since liquid will accumulate there.) This part was way more time-consuming than I thought it would be - pretty much the opposite of the smooth sailing with the blender. But after a while my diligence was rewarded in the form of some very lovely, seed-free puree. That I didn't have to order from France.

When finished, I transferred the puree to a mason jar in the fridge to await its cocktail fate - you can keep yours in the refrigerator for up to three days, or in the freezer for two months.

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