Damn, I love blackberries. Seriously. I can’t imagine a more deliciously sexy and complicated fruit. (Well, except maybe the mango. I don’t use fresh mangos in gelatin molds because some ridiculous acid inherent in mangos prevents gelatin from setting. This is a crying shame.) Anyway, this recipe was created to lament the end of another glorious blackberry season.
While the pairing of blackberries and earl gray tea may seem random – trust me on this – it’s not. The essence of bergamot oranges from the tea offers a subtle citrus punch that enhances and compliments the blackberries. I wish I can take credit for this brilliant union, but I got the idea from Annie Bell’s lovely cookbook, Gorgeous Desserts. While Annie’s recipe calls for gelatin, I decided to substitute agar agar for a few reasons. First, I have a compulsive urge to change any recipe I come across. Second, many people stumble across my blog when searching for agar agar recipes. And since I’ve noticed a paucity of homemade (and yummy) agar agar recipes online, I decided to help fill that void.
Recipe for 4-cups
- 3 cups water
- 3 earl gray tea bags
- ½ cup sugar (or to taste)
- 2 teaspoons agar agar
- 1 cup puréed fresh blackberries – approx 2 cups whole berries (seeds strained)
In a saucepan, bring 3 cups of water to a boil, and take off heat. Add tea bags and steep 5-minutes, remove tea bags. In the same saucepan over medium heat, combine the brewed tea with sugar and agar agar. Boil for 15-minutes. Stir in blackberry purée. Pour into shallow pan to cool. Once set, cut into cubes.