Last summer I made jam for the first time. My first batch was gooseberry, made with several punnets of reduced berries from my local Waitrose. It was tasty but didn’t set properly and was a touch runny. The second batch was rhubarb and nectarine (a recipe I created myself because I was short on rhubarb). The combination was delicious and this time I got the jam to set. All in all it was a great success and I felt inspired to make more jam. I vowed to make the most of locally grown fruits the following year and felt determined to forage, using my harvest to make pots and pot of yummy jams to spread on the kids’ toast and fill my cakes and macarons. Needless to say, I have failed miserably, and foraging has not been high on the agenda.
I have however broken my 2012 duck (I went to cricket on Monday, can you tell?), and been blackberrying. A friend had spotted a bumper crop of big juicy blackberries in the local park so I set off with the kids and some empty ice cream boxes before all the other mums did the same. We had a lovely walk through the park and down to the canal where we found tons of fat blackberries, and picked enough to make both a pie and four pots of jam.
I used Nigella’s recipe for apple and blackberry pie, from ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess’, and can’t recommend it enough. It was delicious and simple to make. The recipe uses a tablespoon of rosewater, the perfume of which was offensive to my four year old’s nose and he unfortunately refused to eat the pie. However the rest of us thought it a great addition. Although the smell was quite strong the flavour was subtle enough not to overpower the all important apple and blackberries. The pastry was ever so easy to make and beautifully short and crumbly. Cutting into it revealed the lovely colours inside, and a gorgeous fruity, flowery smell.
We perhaps should have left the pie to cool a little before cutting into it as the filling was still very juicy. The juices thickened on cooling and it was easier to cut a neat slice of pie. Unfortunately what was left of the pie was in no fit state for being photographed by the time the pie had cooled, but was perfect for picking at later on. For this reason I am submitting it to Forever Nigella, this month hosted by the marvellous Karen of Lavender and Lovage. This pie makes for a particularly good fridge raid snack if you happen to have some clotted cream sitting next to it in the fridge. Perfect to slip onto a spoon when no-one is looking!