I can never resist foraging for blackberries; it reminds me of a childhood spent wandering up the back road near our house, and of our immersion in the natural world each summer.
At the end of summer, there were the blackberries, irresistible despite their jagged protectors. We wolfed them down as we were, unconcerned about the odd wiggly creature we found on – or, gulp, in – them. We survived, didn’t we?
They are one of the only remaining things the majority of us could recognise, happily pluck and take home to eat. Yet, I see so few people out picking them. I foraged in my usual spot a few evenings ago, and chuckled to think of the people in the huge supermarket not more than a mile away paying pounds for a dainty portion of them in a sealed plastic tub. Mine cost me nothing more than scratched hands and arms, and a few thorns in my hoody. I might have discovered the odd spider or creature among them but it was more than worth it for such a rich bounty.
Rather than my usual blackberry cake, I thought I’d make a few crumbles. We’re seeing my family in a few weeks and crumble is one of our staple desserts; my father has been making amazing rhubarb and apple ones from scratch for as long as I can remember.
So I put together a large batch of basic crumble topping and added a healthy dose of crushed amaretti biscuits, as almond’s a flavour which really works with blackberries. My trusty kitchen helper was only too keen to get involved! We added a scattering of flaked almonds on top, too.
The end result was simple but very effective. I prefer not to have too much ‘crumble’ on the crumble but did feel that I could have made it a little bit thicker to make it slightly naughtier treat. Althought we did dollop on a healthy portion of Devon Dream, which has a suitably complementary vanilla flavour.
I have had a thought that I might add some chocolate chips to the topping next time too. Blackberry, almond and chocolate crumble definitely has a certain irresistible ring to it.