Sunday, 22 August 2010

Blackberry bounty

The boys had been out blackberrying, and come back with a container full of the glistening, beautifully ripe and sweet fruit.  We still have some of last years epic Blackberry & Apple Jam so didn't need to make any more of that, and I've had a hankering to try making my own cordial for a while, so I looked for a recipe to do just that.  Most of the recipes I found asked you to soak the blackberries in vinegar for a week before making the cordial and I wasn't patient enough for that, so I used this one from the Independant although I'm not sure it shouldn't have been blackcurrant rather than blackberry!  It was simplicity itself to make, just simmering up the blackberries with sugar and water, and then straining it.  The resulting cordial was full of blackberry flavour and has gone down really well with everyone I shared it with.  I made 2 litres, and we're almost through that in just over a week!

There were a few blackberries left and I had a real hankering for a cupcake that captured that blackberry crumble and custard flavour.  In my mind I could envision soft yellow vanilla fragranced sponge swirled with blackberry goodness and after a little thinking I decided that my best shot at creating the effect was to use piping bags to swirl the two mixtures together in the muffin cases.

In practice this didn't quite work out how I'd hoped, and I could have got the same effect by adding alternate spoonfuls of mixture like a chocolate marble cake.  The end result were beautiful looking, amazingly fragranced and really delicious.  The balance of vanilla and blackberry created that perfect 'crumble and custard' flavour that I was aiming for.

Blackberry & Vanilla Cupcakes (makes 6)
4 ounces of butter
4 ounces of self-raising flour
3 ounces of sugar (I used light muscovado)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
About handful of blackberries, pureed and strained.

Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl, then add the flour and eggs and beat until well mixed.  Divide the mixture into to parts, add the vanilla extract to one half and the blackberries to the other half.  Combine in the cake cases, then bake at Gas Mark 4 until golden.  Enjoy!

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