Blackberry heaven

blackberry heaven

When I saw this Blackberry Shortbread dessert I knew I had to make it. Despite the fact that I have put on four pounds recently and can barely fit into a blouse without looking like a Michelin (wo)man. That’s how dreamily good this recipe is. That, and because I have been foraging plump juicy blackberries this morning and was wondering what to do with them. Shortbread, yum. Handpicked blackberries, yum. Clotted cream, Husband’s favourite. So it just has to be a winner.

Blackberry heavenAfter picking the blackberries, wash the juice (and blood off your hands where you have been pricked by the thorns and stung by the insects!).  I put the fruit in a large bowl and fill with cold water – this allows all the little bits to float to the top where you can skim theBlackberry heavenm off. I then drained the blackberries in a colander and set aside a quantity for this yummy cake. The rest, I put into freezer bags so I will have some this winter for blackberry and apple crumbles and the like.

Before I type out the recipe, would you like to know a few facts about blackberries?

  • They are free
  • They are at their plumpy best for the next few weeks
  • Freshly picked? Eat within two days.
  • They freeze really well and keep for months. Use from frozen for smoothies and compotes.
  • If you pick blackberries after 29 September the devil spits on them (so says the latest issue of Good Housekeeping!)


Ingredients cuts into 8 slices

For the cake:
300g self-raising flour, preferably organic
1 tsp baking powder
140g butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
100g golden caster sugar
75ml buttermilk
1 egg, beaten

For the filling:
500g blackberries
3 tbsp golden caster sugar
275g pot clotted cream
icing sugar, to serve

How to prepare/serve

Heat the oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Tip the flour into a mixing bowl with baking powder and a pinch of salt. Add the butter, rub everything together with your fingers to make a reasonably fine crumbed mixture, then stir in the sugar.

Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture, then tip in the buttermilk and egg. Gently work the mixture together until it forms a soft, sticky, dough.

On a lightly floured surface, knead the mixture a couple of times and mould it into an 18cm round. Put the dough on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 30-35 mins until golden and risen and a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle. Leave to cool.

For the filling, lightly mash the blackberries with the sugar. Split the shortcake in two and spread the bottom half with the clotted cream. Spoon the mashed berries over the cream, then top with the shortcake. Dust with icing sugar and serve in slices.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, September 2005