As we enjoy the last few days of sunshine the Summer has to offer I have been out gathering the hedgerow treats of early Autumn. Blackberries!
This has encouraged a bit of culinary experimentation! On the tame side there have been crumbles and several breakfasts of bright purple porridge using the plump berries. The most successful creation has been blackberry and cardamom jam (recipe below). Blackberry fruit jellies need a little bit more work but taste like amazing home made Fruit Pastilles!
Blackberry and Cardamom Jam
Makes 2 small jars
310g blackberries, washed
Juice of 1 lemon
10 cardamom pods, crack the pods to get to the fragrant seeds then grind to a fine powder
2 tsps vanilla extract
200g preserving sugar
1. Put the washed berries, lemon juice, vanilla and cardamom into a heavy bottomed stainless steel pan over an low heat. Stir from time to time until the berries are soft and the juice is running. Squish some of the fruit but do not reduce all the berries to mush!!
2. Still on a low heat add the sugar and stir until it dissolves, around 10 minutes. Now increase the heat until the jam is boiling steadily keep stirring and boil for about 7 minutes, until you reach 105C on a sugar thermometer. Remove from the heat and stand for 5 minutes then stir well and pour into hot sterilised jars. Seal and allow to cool. Then enjoy!
Note: Once the jam has been opened it needs to be kept in the fridge.
Fig Frangipane Tart with Blackberry Jam
If you can resist easting the jam straight from the jar then it makes an amazing addition to baking. I used it in the bottom of this fig frangipane.
To make it blind bake a short crust pastry in a loose bottomed fluted tin. Once cooled spread a good generous layer of blackberry jam in the bottom. Make a frangipane mix and fill up to just under the edge of the pastry. Cut 6 figs into 6 segments and then line them up along the length of the tin. Bake until set and golden.