Normally blackberries are found growing in the autumn, but this year with all this hot weather, mixed in with regular storms, the berries have ripened much earlier. On a walk in July, my family discovered several large bushes that hung heavy with the rich fruit. I love blackberries and immediately after lunch started to collect the black jewels in the boxes we had used to carry our sandwiches. As is a common rule in blackberry picking the larges and juiciest berries are always infuriatingly just out of reach. My father and I worked together to try to reach better fruits. At one point my father held on to my arm, while I leaned out over a deep stream to reach them. It was a little dangerous, but it was worth all the effort because at the end of the walk we had two large boxes of fresh shiny blackberries.
That very evening we had a guest coming for dinner and since we had picked all this fresh fruit I decided to make a dessert using the berries. As we had filo pastry, I chose to make a strudel. I set to work and soon had an amazing dessert. I added cardamom and ginger to give the strudel an exotic taste and I found that they complimented the blackberry very well. I mixed in orange blossom water into the butter glaze to add a slight citrus note, which lightens the overall dish. This is a great treat to make if you have a glut of fruit and want to use them up quickly.
Time: 1 hour
½ tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp ground ginger
50g ground hazelnuts
120g filo pastry (4 sheets)
40g melted butter
1 tsp orange blossom water
- Put the oven on to 190C.
- Wash the blackberries and leave to drain.
- Chop the peaches into long thin slices.
- Place the peaches, blackberries, ground cardamom, sugar, ground ginger and ground hazelnuts into a large bowl and mix well.
- Melt the butter, then add the orange blossom water.
- Place a sheet of baking paper down and then place two sheets of filo down, both slightly off centre form each other.
- Cover the top sheet with the melted butter, using a brush, then placed the next two sheets on top making sure that they are each slightly off centre.
- Cover again with butter, then place the blackberry mixture into the centre.
- Form the fruit into a long rectangle and keep about 2cm of pastry at each end. Don’t overstuff it as it will split if you think there is too much fruit, leave some out.
- Fold over the short ends of the pastry and then fold in the long sides. This should look like a small log now.
- Place the strudel, crease side down onto a baking tray with baking paper and brush with the remains of the butter. Score the pastry in a criss-cross pattern on the top with a knife.
- Place in the oven for 20 minutes then turn the oven down to 150C for 15 minutes until golden brown.
- Enjoy hot or cold with ice cream and fresh blackberries.
Disclaimer: Foraging for food is at your own risk. If you are not 100% sure of the plant, don’t pick it.
I recommend Food For Free (Collins Gem) as a good starting reference book as its small and can easily be carried with you while out walking and can be used to help identify plants.