Wednesday, 30 October 2013


One of the many bushes on our route

I have a bit of an obsession with blackberry picking partly because it seems the most quintessentially Autumnal activity but also because it’s free food, which is always a good thing right ? 

At this time of year I’m like a drill sergeant, every time we go on a walk everyone has to carry a bag, basket or bowl and no one is allowed back in the house without a decent amount of ‘booty’.

This will do. Dorothy (my youngest daughter) will be allowed back in the house.. 

Once back in the house I lay them out on parchment lined baking trays for a couple of hours so any wildlife has a chance to escape and then freeze them. Freezing on trays before transferring them into bags is important otherwise you end up with a boulder’o blackberries which you have to chisel bits off. 

So, by dribs and drabs I accumulate quite a decent stash of blackberries over a few weeks and as they have such a distinctive, almost perfumed flavour you often only need a handful to transform a pie or crumble etc.. into something much more delicious. They go a long way.

The recipe below is about as easy as a recipe gets and is super quick.

Blackberry and Meringue Parfait 

300g  blackberries
500ml double cream
150g  meringues roughly broken up
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 tblsp caster sugar

Put the blackberries in a small saucepan with a tablespoon of water, the sugar and grated zest of the lemon and cook over a low heat until the blackberries are collapsing. Roughly mash with a fork but don’t over do it, you still want lumps. Put aside to cool.

Meanwhile whip the cream into soft peaks and then mix in the crumbled meringue, then very gently fold in the cooled blackberry mixture. Do not over mix, you’re aiming for a marbled effect, not a pink slush.

It should look something like this...
Tip the mixture into a deep sided cake tin lined with cling film or baking parchment and freeze. The shape is up to you, I used a round cake tin measuring 18cm across by 7 cm deep. Freeze until solid.
Remove from the freezer 10 minutes before serving, otherwise you won't be able to cut it. The slices will be messy.

Hot Blackberry Sauce 

200g blackberries
2 tblsp caster sugar
2-3 tblsp water
Grated zest of 1/2 a lemon

Not really a sauce at all, just hot sweet blackberries as a contrast to the cold parfait.

This isn’t really worth making in advance as it takes about 5 minutes.
While the parfait is unthawing, tip everything into a small saucepan and heat over a low heat until the blackberries start to collapse and give off some juice. 

Check for sweetness, as it depends on how sweet your blackberries were in the first place you may need to add more sugar.

Serve the hot blackberries spooned over the cold Parfait.

Autumn on a plate

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