Thursday, August 18, 2011

Now THIS is a blackberry and a Bramble Shaker Quaker Pudding!!

Isn't this a thing of beauty? A truly ripe blackberry waiting to be picked in my neighbours garden across the street. The last time I had blackberries this good was when I was about 11 years old and went blackberrying with my friend, Helen, near the Twelve Pins Mountains in Galway, Ireland. We wandered through the hedgerows for hours covering ourselves with burs and bites and the juice from a thousand delicious blackberries. We then brought our bounty back to the caravan where we were staying and attempted to make jam...I say attempted because I don't think we knew what we were doing other than attracting huge amounts of wasps and annoying my poor Mother by covering everything in sight with blackberry stickiness....ah - those were wonderful days!!


There is a great fondness for blackberries in the UK not only as something delicious to eat but also as an object to be replicated in charming illustrations and my friend Valerie Greeley certainly does know how to illustrate blackberries as evidenced by the beautiful images below.
"Bunny and Blackberries" by Valerie Greeley
"Dormouse and Blackberries" by Valerie Greeley

"Jellies and British Puddings" by Valerie Greeley
and on that note should we indulge in a dessert made with blackberries (although I have to be absolutely honest here and say if your blackberries are as good as my neighbours eat them plain as nothing on earth can improve them!)...but if you must perhaps you'd like to indulge in Bramble Shaker-Quaker....a simple little ditty, a Yorkshire speciality batter pudding with blackberries. After I had made it I realized it is just a puffy version of the divine French Cherry Clafouti...maybe we should call it Blackberry ClaPOUFi.

So simple: Pre heat your oven to 375F
1. Heavily butter a shallow gratin type dish. I used 4 of the size above.
2. Scatter your berries as ye may...you will notice I added a couple of gorgeous cherries to mine because I happened to have them on hand.
3. Avail yourself of the following ingredients:
3 room temperature eggs separated
2oz / 1/4 cup sugar
2oz /1/3 cup flour
1 3/4 cups/14 fluid ounces whole milk
4. Beat egg yolks lightly with a fork.
5. Mix yolks with milk.
7. Mix flour and sugar together in a bowl.
8. Put liquid into a blender, add dry ingredients and whizz until smooth batter emerges.
9. Whisk egg whites to fluffy peaks.
10. Pour blender ingredients gently into whisked whites and blend timidly until well mixed...do not worry too much if there are some lumpy bits...better to not deflate than overmix.
11. Pour batter over blackberries and then spoon floaty egg whitey stuff over any holes where fruit is peaking through - see below.
Now pop into your nice hot oven and bake for about 35 minutes until beautifully browned as below
The recipe (from an old British Country Living magazine...my favourite magazine EVER) says to eat hot or warm...I actually preferred it cool for when it's hot it's HOT...those blackberries hold the heat!! You can put a dollop of cream or vanilla ice cream on there and I really
don't think it would hurt!!

And now for a bit of blackberry frivolity:
Available at my CafePress store
and a charming and very funny English video that involves said fruit.
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