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Blue, Black or Raspberry Reduction · GF (1 1/2 cups )

This process reduces the berries by nearly 50%; essentially removing the bulk of their water content, leaving a concentrated, intensely flavored puree behind. It’s the perfect springboard for imparting a strong berry flavor to a wide variety of desserts.

If using blue or black berries, I think a little lemon or orange zest added in at the end is nice, but that’s entirely optional and up to you. Likewise, when used sparingly, flower waters adds a lovely je ne sais quoi. Orange flower water with blue or black berries and rose flower water with raspberries. Again, it’s optional so use some or none, as you see fit.

18 ounces blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries (frozen work well too)
8 1/2 ounces sugar
the zest of 1 lemon or 1 small orange (optional)
a few drops of orange or rose flower water (also optional)
1/4 tsp kosher salt

Blitz the berries and sugar together in the bowl of a food processor, or do it by hand by smashing them together with a fork/potato masher. Cover and macerate for one hour.

After the hour has passed, place the berries and juice in a medium sauce pot and turn the heat to medium low. When the mixture begins to bubble, turn the heat down to low. Maintain the barest simmer, you should only see very occasional bubbles. Simmer until the mixture reduces by about half.

Reducing the mixture on low heat helps preserve the fresh berry taste; of course you can speed this process by simmering on a higher heat, but it will impart a more pronounced “cooked” flavor. To me, this is less desirable.

When the liquid has sufficiently reduced, whisk in the citrus zest & flower water (if using), and salt.

You now have about 13 ounces of concentrated berry essence; less if you choose to strain out the skins/seeds. (If you do strain, save the seedy pulp to whisk into muffin batter!)

Store refrigerated for about a week, or freeze almost indefinitely.

This reduction is a wonderful thing to have on hand. I love it spooned over or swirled in Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. Blend equal parts of the reduction and coconut milk for killer lactose free, vegan Berry Ice Cream. Or use the reduction to flavor Vanilla Bean Marshmallows.


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Any questions?

Apr 06, 2013 · 12:14 AM

Hi Stella, could I add the blueberry reduction to muffin batter? Thank you

 · Luv2cook · 

Apr 06, 2013 ·  5:28 PM

Hey Luv2cook, long time no see. You know, I’m not sure. I’ve tried using it in cake batter, but it failed pretty miserably (it just screws up the sugar content too much). But I was using a lot. Maybe if you only used a little (like for a swirl) it would turn out alright.


Apr 06, 2013 ·  8:59 PM

Thank you Stella, I will try it and see what happens. I was told to take a break from baking. Everyone was gaining weight. Lol

 · Luv2cook · 

Apr 08, 2013 · 12:05 AM

hahaha, I know that feeling!!


Dec 26, 2013 ·  5:59 AM

Hi Stella, I’ve tried your strawberry reduction recipe and made white chocolate ganache with it (so good, thank you so much!) and wanted to try making a dark chocolate and raspberry ganache with this one. Just wondering, how many parts of raspberry reduction to dark chocolate would you recommend? And also, how much less of the reduction would I have if I were to strain out all the seeds?

 · Julia · 

Dec 26, 2013 ·  4:03 PM

Hi Julia! These reductions do great as ganache. I combine them with the chocolate in a 1:1 ratio by weight. Sometimes I finish with a Tablespoon or so of cream, which helps smooth the texture. I’d recommend a chocolate in the 60% range, as the added cocoa butter helps stabilize the emulsion. I’m sorry to say I can’t quite recall how much you’ll lose to seeds, but I’m guessing about 1/3 cup or so. It shouldn’t be too bad unless your berries are extremely small (which increases the fruit to seed ratio… .


Dec 26, 2013 ·  7:41 PM

Thanks so much for your quick reply, Stella! Can’t wait to try it out

 · Julia · 

Feb 15, 2014 ·  5:16 PM

Hi Stella, would this work with tinned fruit?

 · Ali P · 

Feb 16, 2014 · 11:02 AM

Hi Ali P! That’s a good question, and my instinct is that it wouldn’t work. Tinned fruit has already been cooked and sweetened, so it would throw the ratio of ingredients off and likely lead to overcooking. It might work with frozen fruit, but I haven’t tried it that way.


Mar 09, 2014 · 11:11 AM

Awesome recipe definitely going to try adding it to the buttercream next time I make macarons for a fruity flavor.

 · Lys · 

Mar 10, 2014 · 11:29 AM

Glad you found the reductions! Good luck with the buttercream, Lys.


May 18, 2014 ·  2:49 PM

I’m planning on filling a cake with this…could I leave it at room temperature since it is a reduction an not fresh fruit?

 · Sally ·

May 21, 2014 · 11:48 AM

Hi Sally! I think that will be just fine, you can consider it a sort of jam or jelly. It’s high acid, high sugar, low moisture, so while you can’t keep it at room temperature indefinitely, it will certainly hold up safely within the shelf life of a layer cake. I’ve never used it as a pure filling (I usually do a thin layer, then put buttercream on top), but I hope you like it!


Jul 18, 2014 · 10:28 AM

Hey Stella, with the flower water option… would “natural rosewater essence” or “orange essence” do the job?

 · Julia · 

Jul 27, 2014 · 12:17 PM

Hi Stella. Long time no see, I know. I’m planning on macarons again soon but wasn’t sure what to do for the filling. Then I saw your white chocolate strawberry ganache and was wondering if it would work with this raspberry reduction? One of my family’s favorite flavors is white chocolate raspberry so I’m hoping it will but I wanted your expert advice before I spend all that money on good quality chocolate. Thanks so much!

 · Lys · 

Aug 01, 2014 ·  1:44 PM

Hi Julia! I’ve never used these products, so I can’t be certain, but I have a feeling they are more in line with an extract and would therefore be quite potent so you’d need to exercise extreme caution as you add them in so as not to overwhelm the flavor.



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