Saturday, 15 September 2012

Blackberry Crumble

The school run.
The 'school run' has been taking twice as long this week. Last week I introduced Evie to the delights of roadside snacks in the form of blackberries. So an empty ice-cream tub has joined all of the usual school-related paraphernalia that accompanies us back and forth along the country lane between home and school.  

Our harvest has been plentiful; it seems that in spite of our enthusiastic picking new fruits ripen each day to bolster our supplies. The fruits are so deliciously sweet straight from the hedge that at least half of Evie's quota goes straight into her purple-stained mouth. So in order to procure enough fruit for the crumble I did have to do some surreptitious harvesting on my own.

I can't think of a better way to celebrate the changing of the seasons as the sun fades, the temperatures drop and the nights draw in: some roadside foraging, rewarded with a comforting bowl of warm, dark and spicy fruits to be eaten cosied up under a blanket in front of the telly (I am refusing to turn the heating on yet!). For me, there is no better partner to the black, syrupy almost mulled juices than a dollop or splash of cold cream. It certainly helps to soothe the scratches and nettle stings acquired from trying to grab the particularly black and luscious berries that always seem to be just out of my reach.

The fruits we gathered had such a delicious natural sweetness and deep, spicy flavour that I decided to leave them unaccompanied by their ubiquitous partner, the apple, and devoted a crumble entirely to their jewelled autumnal splendour. Having said that, I enjoyed the husky notes of the crème de mûres so much in the Baked Victoria Plums that I couldn't resist reaching for the bottle again here, adding a little splash to anoint the berries prior to their crumbly burial. 

Blackberry Crumble

300g. blackberries
Crème de mûres (optional)
A sprinkling of sugar

100g. plain flour
75g. butter
3 tbsp. almonds
3 tbsp. light muscovado sugar

Rubbing the butter and flour; Evie's favourite job in the kitchen.

Preheat your oven to 180°C. Place your berries into an oven proof dish and add a splash of the blackberry liqueur (if using) and toss them to coat. Add a sprinkling of sugar to taste.

Rub together the flour and butter then stir in the muscovado sugar with a fork. Lightly toast the almonds then roughly chop and stir into the crumble mixture.

Tumble the mixture over the blackberries. I like to leave some berries less covered so that the juices can escape.

Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes until the crumble topping is golden and some of those syrupy, bubbling juices have erupted through the topping. Serve whilst warm with cool cream.


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