The smell of wild British blackberries in August is my favorite. I love how after picking them their sweet dark scent lingers on my fingers and in the palms of my blue-black stained hands. No wonder the perfumers at Jo Malone have tried to capture this scent. It’s the sweetest, most luscious fragrance of high summer.
Which is why I feel lucky to have a garden full of rampant bramble bushes.
Today was the first day of the season that I took Helena out to pick blackberries. It’s still early so most of them have yet to reach their peak, but I couldn’t wait. I had to gather those that were ready. Their perfume, especially in the sunshine, was too strong to be ignored. All I could think of when gathering the fruit was Seamus Heaney’s poem, “Blackberry Picking.”
Greedy Guts Helena ate a third of our berries before we got back inside. So I decided to use some of the raspberries her grandparents picked at Peterley Manor last weekend in my cobbler as well.
Last year, I posted a blackberry cobbler recipe that was assembled like a lasagne by layering pastry cut outs between layers of fruit. The recipe below is not like that. Instead it’s made with a batter and I love how soft and sticky it is. My husband said it reminded him of an old English pudding. I hope you like it.
2 cups blackberries
1 cup raspberries
zest of half a lemon
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
approximately half a stick of butter
3/4 cups flour
1/4 cup cormnmeal
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup + 4 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup plain yogurt
Preheat the oven to Gas 4/350ºF/180ºC.
Rinse and drain your berries.
Put the butter in your baking dish.
Melt the butter for a few minutes in the oven as you prepare the fruit mixture.
Tip your berries into a medium mixing bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of the sugar, the zest of half a lemon, and 1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla. Gently mash the fruit but be careful not to turn it into pulp. All you want to do is release some of the juices. Once this is done, set the bowl aside.
In another bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal (this gives the cobbler its sticky chewiness), salt, baking powder, 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons of sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, milk, and yogurt. Add the melted butter and stir until combined.
Pour the batter into your baking dish. Then spoon your fruit mixture on top of it.
Bake for about 40 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with your favorite creamy topping. Mine for this is bourbon vanilla ice cream.