Author Notes: On a hot summer day nothing feels as refreshing as these tiny squares of concentrated blackberry flavor, followed by a sip of icy cold water. In French pastry shops they coat them with superfine sugar, but I like them better naked – nothing but the essence of blackberry, a hint of basil and a faint suggestion of lime… —QueenSashy
for the candy
cups packed cup basil leaves
teaspoons apple pectin
tablespoons lime juice
teaspoon kosher salt
vegetable oil for brushing
superfine sugar for coating (optional)
8x8 inch baking pan
fine mesh sieve
- Wash and coarsely chop the basil. Place the basil in a small bowl and crush it with pestle or bottom of a tablespoon. In a small saucepan mix the basil and water. Bring slowly to a boil and boil for about 10 seconds. Remove the saucepan from the heat, cover and leave it for about 15 minutes for the flavors to release. Strain into a bowl and discard the basil.
- Wash the blackberries carefully. Pure the blackberries in a blender with one cup of the basil liquid. Pour the mixture into the strainer and strain carefully into a deep saucepan. Press the pulp with fork until it releases all its juices. Measure out, it will be about two to two and a half cups of blackberry juice. Add more basil water, until you have three cups of liquid.
- Brush the baking pan with oil, line the bottom and the sides with parchment paper and oil the paper.
- Measure out 6 tablespoons of sugar and mix it with pectin; mix well.
- Place the blackberry juice in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Once the juice is simmering, add the pectin-sugar mixture while whisking non-stop. Once pectin is incorporated, add the remaining sugar in several batches. Continue to whisk until the liquid comes to a boil. Once the liquid comes to a boil, add the salt and glucose. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to boil, while whisking frequently. If needed, skim the foam. Boil until the mixture reaches 228-230°F. (This will take a while, about 30 minutes, depending on the pan and the heat. If you are not using instant-read thermometer, test the candy by dipping the spoon into it and putting it aside for a couple of seconds.) Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the lime juice.
- Immediately pour the hot liquid into the prepared baking pan and let it cool at room temperature. Leave for a couple of hours or overnight. Once the jelly has set, lift the edges of the parchment paper to transfer the candy onto a cutting board. Using sharp knife dipped in water, trim the edges and then cut the candy into 1/2-inch squares.
- If you would like to dust the candies with sugar (I do not, as they are already quite sweet and for sake of full disclosure I did it only for the photograph. Plus, they are really quite beautiful naked like little pieces of black lacquer), toss them in superfine sugar right before serving. Dust off the excess sugar and serve.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe for the Shore
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Berry Recipe