They are not black but rather a deep purple, they look interesting, like lots of berries have magnetised to create one. They most definitley stain and are sticky too. Their taste, however, makes up for this, when plucked at just the right time they are oh so sweet… Yes, I am talking Blackberries!
This is the season folks, and this year they appear to be out in force.
What I love most about blackberries is picking and collecting them, always referred to on our annual pilgrimage's as Blackberryin'. (It's the Yorkshire in me).
One of the many benefits of living in the countryside is that blackberries can be found in abundance on our doorstep. Of course you don't have to go too deep into the rural fabric, blackberries can be spotted flourishing in most hedgerows at this time of year.
So don't go buying your blackberries, it's as easy as 'pie' to grab yourself a few for free and sooo much more enjoyable than a walk around the supermarket - It's FREE FOOD.
Here are two of my favorite things to do with Blackberries.
Blackberry Peach Lattice Pie
This talented lady was my inspiration for this Pie. The holy union of peaches with blackberries is my own invention.
Let me tell you folks, the combination of blackberries and peaches together, is one that will not leave you dissapointed!
Pastry can be tricky but this is my fail proof way for sweet pastry and is easy enough. It is adapted from here.
250g Plain Flour
50g Icing sugar
125g of COLD butter cubed
Milk to bind
Sieve your flour and icing sugar into a bowl. Add the butter and rub into the mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg and milk until you have a dough (don't mix and keep at it for too long at this stage or you will end up with chewy pastry rather than crusty crumbly pastry)! Wrap it in cling film and put it in the fridge.
Leave your pastry in the fridge for at least half an hour before using it.
It is entirely up to you how much fruit to use, just make sure you have enough - never skimp on the fruit in a pie.
I had a mixing bowl 3/4 full of blackberries and 2 peaches.
Mix your fruit together in a bowl with about 1/3 cup of sugar and the same of cornflour (Don't forgot to add cornflour to the fruit or you will be left with an overflowing mess). Mix with a fork to release the juices and let it stand for 10/20 mins.
When the pastry is ready for rolling break off about 2/3, put the remaining 1/3 back in the fridge.
Roll out your base and line a pie dish or plate, trim the edges and put a few fork pricks in the base (if you have time put this back in the fridge for a while)
To assemble the Pie spoon your fruit into the base. Roll out the remaining 1/3 of pastry and cut into lengths.
Whisk an egg with a drop or 2 of milk and wash the pastry edge - Here is the fun part - The lattice, just improvise, as you can see from mine it doesn't have to be perfect!
Brush more of the egg wash over your lattice and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
Pop into the oven at about 180º for approx 40 mins.
Experiment Away, It's always good to add your own twists to something, I think.
Spicy Blackberry Chutney
This chutney makes a lovely gift, A nice taste of late summer/early autumn always goes down well at Christmas.
The best accompaniment to this chutney…Without a doubt - Goats Cheese.
I use this recipe. I didn't have white whine vinegar, so I used cider vinegar, which works just as well. I also didn't add the ginger.
This chutney always takes me longer than stated to reduce down. I find adding lemon zest and juice helps it to thicken. Also try and make it as soon as you can after picking the blackberries when the pectin is still high in them. Remember it is not a jam, so you are not looking for this to set and be too thick.
So there you are, two of my favourite things to do with blackberries. There are so many more: Put them in scones, put them in drinks, put them in pancakes, freeze them, or just enjoy straight from the bush.
Either way they surround us at the moment, reach out and enjoy them.