Whoopie! The Christmas tree is up.................. Christmas is really, nearly here!
It's my favourite foodie time of year because I can pog-out on all those calorific treats and spend lots of time concocting delicious edible inventions to feed anyone brave enough to eat them. There's more time spent chilling and eating with friends and family, so it's a great excuse to really 'go to town' in the kitchen.
In the run up to 'the big event', we dig out the Christmas CD's and dance round the kitchen (often as a family), spoon and bowl in hand, singing (badly) and mixing as we go. The 'great family bake off'!
And then there's the presents........................ I always love to receive home-made foodie gifts, firstly because they're unique and secondly because they exude thoughtfulness and care. They are also the perfect solution when you can't think of what to buy people, because you know they will (most of the time) be gratefully received and devoured.
This year I have decided to give some foodie gifts, so have been busily making curds and preparing to make biscuit goodies to package prettily and deliver to my favourite people.
Earlier in the year I shared and posted my recipe for Rhubarb Curd. - A delicious, creamy, slightly tart jar of 'rhubarb and custard' yumminess. Having discovered this gem, I have made it several times since and think t is so delicious and unusual that I have now made several jars to give as gifts.
But I was also feeling inventive this week and decided to try adapting my rhubarb recipe and to experiment with an apple and blackberry version, using fruit that has been stashed in the freezer since the autumn. Cooking apples and blackberries can be pretty tart, especially if you go easy on the sugar, so I thought they would be just perfect in a curd.
I was right................ The flavour in this jar is incredible........... Tangy, fruity, sharp, sweet, apples, blackberries, memories of Autumn.............. yum!! And as if that wasn't perfect enough, the colour is absolutely beautiful and so, so fruitily inviting. Absolutely delicious............. I want to sit with a jar and a spoon and eat the lot, it is that good!
But I won't. Because I have made some for other people too. Extra, extra special jars of yummy Christmas love, to be given and shared. Not eaten greedily............ by me!
These pretty purple-red jars make such perfect gifts, I am offering them as my entry to December's Tea Time Treats challenge, being hosted this month by Kate over at What Kate Baked. This month, the wonderful duo of Kate and Karen (from Lavender and Lovage) have taken Christmas by the horns and have challenged us to share our Festive Foodie Gifts. Great theme!
This Apple & Blackberry Curd is fantastic with shortbread biscuits, on scones, or just eaten out of the jar............... I feel sure that my efforts will be gratefully received and enjoyed. I know I would be really happy with a jar of this one!
Apple & Blackberry Curd (makes 3 small or 2 larger jars)
1 cooking apple (Bramley) - peeled, cored and cut into small pieces
300g fresh or frozen blackberries
3 tablespoons water
3 large eggs - beaten
120 caster sugar
80g unsalted butter
- Place the prepared apple and the blackberries into a saucepan and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the sugar.
- Add 3 tablespoons of cold water and using a medium heat setting, bring to a simmer.
- Allow to simmer, stirring occasionally until the fruit has cooked through and is soft enough to crush with the back of the spoon.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
- Once cool, puree the fruit using a blender and then push through a sieve into a bowl or jug to remove any seeds. This will take some perseverance as you want to get as much puree through as possible
- To sterilise your jars, place clean jars and their lids into a cold oven on a baking tray and turn to 130 degrees Centigrade. Allow to heat whilst you make your curd.
- Using a double saucepan, place a small amount of water ready to heat. Place the butter, sugar, eggs and fruit puree into the top and begin to heat the water whilst continually stirring until the water begins to simmer.
- Continue to stir turning the heat down to a low simmer, so that it is effectively steaming under the ingredients. It is essential not to be tempted to turn the heat up and to be really patient with the cooking process or you will scramble the egg.
- Keep stirring until the butter melts and the mixture thickens into a custard consistency which thickly coats the back of the spoon. (This may take 15+ minutes, so be really patient)
- Pour into your sterile, warm jars and seal with lids immediately, before allowing to cool. Store in the fridge when cold.
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013 unless otherwise indicated