Three Favourite Ways with Blackberries
There is a generosity to autumn that isn’t equalled by any other season. The colours match the falling leaves, the warm glowing oranges of squash, the sweetshop jewel colours of beetroots and the subtle earth tones of mushrooms, all backed up by the very last of the summer tomatoes and courgettes.
One of my very favourites around this time of year is the queen of the hedgerow – the blackberry. In my opinion blackberries make the best jam there is, but in the short window they’re around I try to be a bit more creative. Here are three recent favourites:
This is a tray full of all that is good about autumn: honey and mustard roast parsnips, cold-weather herbs, butter beans that char and crisp, and blackberries that burst and dye the pale parsnips a deep purple in the heat of the oven. It’s a painting of a dish. I finish it off with some buttery toasted rye flakes and hazelnuts. Serve this in the tray in the middle of the table for maximum effect.
Here an easy almond and spelt pastry hugs honey-sweetened almond frangipane, a generous layer of quick blackberry compote and a scattering of blackberries. If your blackberries are particularly tart you can toss them in a little sugar or honey to sweeten.
The bay here is subtle and unlike when it cooks in stews it imparts a gentle flavour so you can be quite bold with the amount of leaves you use. Damsons would work really well here too.
These were a Saturday favourite growing up. We used to make them with blueberries or strawberries on the top of the Aga at home, topping them with too much butter and far too much maple syrup. We’d make a triple batch of batter as my sister Laura and I would eat 8 or 10 on the trot.
These are a more grown-up version made with blackberries and vanilla and finished with a saffron-spiked yoghurt. Warm from the saffron, sharp and sweet from the blackberries and comforting from the childhood association. The 8-year-old in me could eat these all day.