January 28th, 2020


Blueberries are one of life’s simple pleasures. They are quite unlike other berries and a firm favourite in our household. Over summer, we stockpile the freezer with pick-your-own berries, augmented by several small blueberry bushes in the backyard that are finally beginning to earn their keep.

Blueberries have incredible gelling quality. They can be made into a firm jelly by simply pulverising fresh raw berries in a blender until smooth, pour into small bowls and leave to set in the fridge for an hour or so. Give it a go, it is quite magical.

When blueberries are cooked, this gelling quality can be used to produce a thick conserve without the addition of pectin and/or copious amounts of sugar. This results in a thick and rich berry-full conserve that sandwiches perfectly between two spiced cookies. Scroll down for the recipes…

Blueberry & Blackberry Conserve

Fresh or frozen berries can be used for this conserve and either blackberries or boysenberries.
Servings 3 x 300g jars
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes


  • 500 g blueberries
  • 500 g blackberries or boysenberries
  • juice of half a lemon
  • about ½ cup sugar or honey


  • Place the berries into a wide-bottomed saucepan. The larger surface area of a wide base means excess moisture can boil and evaporate as steam to thicken the conserve.
  • Cook on a low heat for 20 minutes until the berries have softened. Remove from the heat and use a stick blender to puree until smooth (alternatively use a potato masher to macerate the berries). Return to the heat, add the lemon juice and sugar or honey to taste and simmer for a further 10 minutes.
  • Preserve the hot conserve into hot sterilised jars. For a small batch like this, I use the oven method to sterilise the empty jars by placing them into a cold oven and heat to 120 degrees Celsius. After 15 minutes begin to remove the hot jars one at a time to carefully fill with the hot conserve. Meanwhile, boil the lids for 5 minutes and use a tea towel to screw onto the filled jar. Cool the jars on a wooden board. Once cool check the lids have sealed – they will be curving into the jar – and store in a cool pantry for up to 6 months. Once opened, store conserve in the fridge and use within 3 weeks.

Linzer Cookies

These cookies, inspired by the iconic Austrian Linzer Torte, are excellent use for this rich berry conserve. Using brown sugar in these cookies provides a hint of molasses which goes well with the spices and the dark-hued berries.
Servings 12 cookies
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Chilling time 30 minutes


  • 100 g butter
  • cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 small egg
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • cups standard white flour
  • ½ cup ground hazelnut or almonds
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • About ⅓ cup berry conserve


  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  • Beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg and lemon zest and beat until thick.
  • Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add to the butter mixture in two batches, mixing well between each addition. Tip onto a bench and knead briefly. Place the dough into a covered dish and chill for 30 minutes.
  • On a lightly floured bench roll out two-thirds of the dough to 5mm thickness. Use a 6cm cookie cutters to cut out 12 rounds and place them on a lined baking tray. Spread each round with a teaspoon of berry conserve. Roll and cut out the remaining dough to create 12 more rounds. Use a 1cm cutter to cut out the centre of each round (or use an apple corer) and carefully place on top of the conserve-spread rounds. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden. Transfer to a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container in the pantry and consume with 3 days.

Join the Conversation

  1. I love the sound of the conserve and the cookies. I’d like to make them for my colleagues but one is gluten intolerant. Do you think you could make the cookies with, say, buckwheat flour or another gluten free alternative?

    1. Hi Sue, I haven’t tried this particular recipe with gluten flour but I have a similar recipe I make that works OK with gluten-free flour. I would suggest using the following flour combo – 1/2 cup rice flour, 1/2 cup buckwheat flour and 1/4 cup tapioca flour – or a gluten-free flour mix. Buckwheat flour alone can overpower the cookie and the addition of tapioca will lighten the mix. Also, be aware that the dough will be fiddlier to handle, you may want to chill half of the dough while rolling the first half and use a spatula to carefully transfer cookies to and from the baking tray. And they will be crumblier than when using wheat flour without the gluten to hold together. But, I am sure they will be just as delicious 🙂

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