Archaeological records show that blackberries have been enjoyed in Europe since as far back as 8000BC, with the British season running from August through to the first signs of frost (generally in November).
So, in keeping with peak blackberry season, these delightful berries rich in antioxidants, vitamin c and fibre are currently at their best. They’re also amongst the easiest fruits to stumble across while foraging. Wild blackberries, in fact – as well as being free – generally taste far better than the cultivated type found in supermarkets, with the softest (read: often sweetest and tastiest) generally disregarded due to difficulties in transportation.
Best enjoyed alone with a little sugar or cream during the height of summer, yet as the leaves being to fall and the evenings draw in, warming blackberry-based puddings are generally favoured – pairing exceptionally with the first apples of the season. With the changing of the seasons and in the lead up to Christmas, award-winning cider brand Chaplin & Corks Brand Ambassador Alex James (Blur bassist, farmer, and cheese enthusiast) has worked on a number of recipes showcasing the cider in the run up to Christmas.
This week’s featured recipe, therefore, features blackberries and plums (also still in season, just about) poached in Chaplin & Corks cider, served with hazelnuts and clotted cream. A simple, delicious post-dinner treat that’s ideal for long autumnal evenings.
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes
Chaplin & Corks Somerset Gold cider, 2 x 500ml
Plums, 800g (approx. 2 per person)
Clotted cream, 250g
Pour the cider into a large saucepan along with the sugar, and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar.
Wash and halve the plums, then add them to the cider, and reduce the heat to a very low simmer. Cook for 5 minutes.
Add the blackberries, and simmer for a further 4 minutes, then turn off the heat, and allow the fruit to steep for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a large dry frying pan, and add the hazelnuts. Toast for 6-7 minutes, shaking the pan frequently, until evenly golden brown.
Remove the poached fruit from the cider with a slotted spoon, and set aside. Bring the cider back up to the boil, and boil rapidly for 30 minutes until reduced by half and syrupy.
Serve the poached fruit with the mascarpone and toasted hazelnuts, and spoon over the syrup.
Further information on Chaplin & Corks can be found at candcgroupplc.com.