Autumn Berries Bumping into Summer

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.

Ready to pick

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.

So yummy!

Time: 1 hour


400g blackberries

2 peaches

50g sugar

½ tsp ground cardamom

½ tsp ground ginger

50g ground hazelnuts

120g filo pastry (4 sheets)

40g melted butter

1 tsp orange blossom water


  1. Put the oven on to 190C.
  2. Wash the blackberries and leave to drain.
  3. Chop the peaches into long thin slices.
  4. Place the peaches, blackberries, ground cardamom, sugar, ground ginger and ground hazelnuts into a large bowl and mix well.
  5. Melt the butter, then add the orange blossom water.
  6. Place a sheet of baking paper down and then place two sheets of filo down, both slightly off centre form each other.
  7. 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.
  8. Cover again with butter, then place the blackberry mixture into the centre.
  9. 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.
  10. Fold over the short ends of the pastry and then fold in the long sides. This should look like a small log now.
  11. 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.
  12. Place in the oven for 20 minutes then turn the oven down to 150C for 15 minutes until golden brown.
  13. Enjoy hot or cold with ice cream and fresh blackberries.
Already half gone, wish there was more.




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.

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