Time to pick blackberries! High summer's here and the blackberry patch on the Lindquist family farm is giving them up big time! SB and I hit the thorny patch yesterday afternoon and picked quarts of them ... without even making a dent in the numbers. The birds are happy, the mice are happy; even Mimi, the smart little Corgi nibbled a few that got dropped her way.
Judging from the number of berries that are still white and just turning, there will be berries for the next week, at least. Everyone at the farm will have all they wish and there will still be plenty for the creatures. We came home and made a big batch of jam and two beautiful baked treats.
This blackberry pecan crumble comes from ideas that I got from Nigella Lawson and Diana Henry. All I did was mound blackberries into an oven proof pan, sprinkled on raw sugar and cornstarch and dotted the top with about three tablespoons of butter.
The cobbler's topping is made with old fashioned oats, flour, pecans, white sugar, and butter ... everything gets pulsed in a food processor bowl until it's crumbly. Then, onto the berries, it goes! Into the oven for about 35 minutes and when it's golden and crisped and the blackberries are bubbling around the edges, it's finished. Vanilla ice cream and blackberry cobbler ... oh, man!
The other treat I made is this incredibly moist and juicy Brown Sugar and Blackberry Tea Cake ... a bit of genius from Diana Henry. I made it this morning and had it for my late breakfast ... with coffee and slathered with a bit of butter, it was really delicious ...
The light this morning was really beautiful and shooting the finished tea cake out on my walkway was inspired. That grey blue gravel background did neat things with the cake and mint. It was almost too pretty to cut into, but I braved it and enjoyed the warm goodness of high summer.
So, there you have it ... two killer blackberry recipes all in one post. The only thing I can top them with is my favorite shot of yesterday's photo shoot in the blackberry patch ... and a reminder that pear season will be on us come fall ... but that's a ways off.
Blackberry and Pecan Crumble
1 ½ lb. fresh, perfect blackberries, picked over
3 tbsp. cornstarch
3 - 4 tbsp. raw sugar
Zest of half a lemon
2 ½ tbsp. butter, cut into pats
1 c. flour
½ c. old-fashioned oats
½ c. sugar
¾ c. cold butter
¾ cup pecans, divided
Making the Crumble:
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Mound the blackberries in the bottom of a 9 – inch pie plate.
- Sprinkle the cornstarch, lemon zest, raw sugar over all.
- Place the pats of butter around the top of the mound. Set aside.
- Place the flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon, and half the nuts in a bowl of a food processor. Whiz until the nuts are finely pulverized.
- Cut the cold butter into small chunks and continue processing the mix until it begins to clump up.
- Add the rest of the nuts and pulse just enough to break the pecans into small pieces.
- Spoon the crumble topping over the berries, mounding it up at the center and leaving just a bit of exposed berries at the outer edges.
- Bake in the center of the preheated oven for 35 – 40 minutes or until the crumble topping is golden and crisped and the berry juices are bubbling and thickened.
- Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
Blackberry and Brown Sugar Tea Loaf
a Diana Henry recipe
¾ c. butter, softened
1 ¼ c. light brown sugar, firmly packed
2 large eggs
2 generous tbsp. sour cream
Zest of one large lemon
Pinch of cinnamon
2 c. flour, sifted
1 tsp. baking powder
1 ⅔ c. fresh perfect blackberries
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting the completed loaf
Fresh berries and mint leaves for garnish
Making the Loaf:
- Preheat the oven to 325 ° F and grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.
- Place the butter in a mixing bowl and whip until it is light yellow and fluffy.
- Add the brown sugar and continue whipping until completely incorporated and fluffy tan.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Add the sour cream and lemon zest and lower the speed of the beater.
- Sift the flour in and sprinkle on the baking powder and cinnamon and beat on a low setting to incorporate the dry ingredients.
- Turn the berries into the batter very gently, trying not to break up the berries.
- Plop the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top gently and bake in the middle of the preheated oven for about one hour or until a cake tester comes clean when poked in the center of the loaf. Begin checking the loaf at the 50 minute mark and continue at the three minute time until the loaf is perfectly done.
- Let the finished loaf cool in the pan for about ten minutes, then loosen the edges with a thin knife and flip the pan, letting the loaf settle out onto a cooling rack.
- Turn the loaf back over to cool on the rack so that the top of the loaf stays lovely.
- Place the cooled loaf on a nice platter, sprinkle on the confectioner’s sugar and garnish with mint leaves and blackberries and serve with a pot of coffee or tea.