Sunday, September 4, 2011

Chocolate Covered Blackberries

Yes, that is chocolate near her eye.
If you follow me on twitter, you have heard about our backyard blackberries. For much of August and September, I frequently bemoan the fact that I am currently lacking a tall friend who wants to visit and help me pick. I look like I have been mauled, due to the fact that the berries just slightly out of reach always look oh so perfect. As much as I love the berries and I do love them enough to have had a minor meltdown when the new upstairs neighbors trimmed a bit last year, we have more than we can use. This year we have already made cobblers and buckles, "pink" lemonade and multiple batches of yogurt muffins, plus have many in the freezer that will end up in a jam.  I've also eaten, well, enough to wonder if my fingers will ever return to their original color. But I am always looking for new uses.

A few weeks back, I finally let K have her own email account. The first rule, and yes, there are several, is that she only email people she knows and that I can read everything.  To my delight, one of her first emails read: "We have too many blackberrys and need to use them up. Do you have any ideas?" Even better was the reply that came a few days later from Odessa Piper. K, it turns out, knows the right people.

The reply read: "I hope this idea for blackberries will still be useful for your next batch of blackberries.
I like to pop my extra
blackberries right into the freezer. Put them on a tray and when they are solid frozen, take them and store them is a strong plastic freezer bag.
Then they are simply waiting there for me in the freezer when I come up with an idea for blackberry muffins or to make a very special chocolate.
Have you ever had a chocolate covered cherry? You can make something sort of like that by dipping the blackberry in chocolate when it is still frozen.  The chocolate firms up quickly because chocolate hardens when it comes in contact with cold.

First you dip the frozen blackberry in chocolate ganache. Ganache is like a firm chocolate mousse( you can ask your Mom for help on this) . So you dip the frozen  blackberry in the ganache and put it back in the cooler to get firm. Then you dip that in melted chocolate. Because the ganache is cold, the melted chocolate will cling to it quickly.  Keep these chocolates in the cooler until you eat them. They are very good!"

I immediately was obsessed with the idea. Blackberries! Chocolate! Sounds easy! I followed up to ask if I could blog about the project and was told that: 
"You can indeed, but with proviso that this breaks every rule of chocolate handling- but it does achieve capturing a bursting ripe berry at its peak. Freezing it allows one to handle it intact and 'entomb ' it's goodness in chocolate. I actually came up with the idea when I wanted to serve a fancy mid winter meal using only three ingredients from afar (the other two being salt and pepper.)"

Practicing her knife skills. Note my Life in Hell t-shirt. Purchased with funds from my high school bookstore job.
How then could we resist? So this morning, it was time to try it out.  
First off, we made a very simple ganache: We boiled 1/2 cup of cream and poured it over 6 oz of chopped Scharffenberger unsweetened dark chocolate (what I had in the cupboard) and whisked. We then added 1/4 cup powdered sugar and continued whisking till combined.
Then came the fun part as we dipped frozen blackberries into the ganache and rolled them around to coat before putting on a baking sheet. The sheet then went into the freezer for 20 minutes or so to harden.

Dipping the ganached berries into the chocolate

After the ganache hardened, we melted 4 oz of chocolate, a combination of Valrhona Jivara and Lindt 70% (again, what we had on hand) in the microwave. Allowing it to very slight cool given the impatience of my assistant, we dipped each berry in and once again returned them to the freezer to set.

The end result made K and I very happy.

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