The first blackberries of the season are ripening well, and my favourite picking patches are heavy with fruit, all swelled to massive proportions by the heavy rain we’ve been experiencing. Our haul was about 2kg, enough for a crumble, with plenty left for the freezer.
Blackberries are probably the most accessible of wild food – plentiful, easy to identify and delicious. There can’t be many people who haven’t picked and eaten wild blackberries. It makes you wonder who buys those little pre-packaged punnets in the supermarket?
So, blackberry and apple crumble it is then. It’s an easy dish, more like a simple assembly job than real cooking. I don’t use any particular recipe.
150g plain flour
Sugar, preferably demerara, a couple of tablespoons
Blackberries, about 400g or so, picked over and washed
Apples, peeled and sliced – I use a fairly sweet eating apple from our allotment, but Braeburns or Coxes are good
Demerara sugar to taste
Blitz all the crumble ingredients together in a food processor until they resemble breadcrumbs. You might add a bit of cinnamon, if you want, or maybe some oats for a crunchier finish.
Mix the apples, blackberries and sugar together in a baking dish. Taste a piece of apple and a blackberry and add more sugar if needed – this is largely dependent on the sweetness of the fruit.
Tip the crumble over the fruit and smooth. Bake in a medium oven, about 175c for about 35 minutes. Done. The filling will be volcanically hot, so let it rest for five minutes before eating. Also, this is excellent eaten cold whilst stood in front of the fridge with the door open.
Some people pre-cook the apples and blackberries together so that the apples start dissolving into the blackberries. This is fine, but I prefer the way that the apples retain their shape and a little bit of bite when cooked undisturbed from raw.
Cooking this with frozen blackberries is OK, and makes an excellent pie, but the crumble you make on the evening that you pick the blackberries is the undisputed king of puddings. The very best of the year.