It’s time to say farewell to summer for another year. However, the great thing about a British autumn means you’re never to far away from a bramble bush. Make the most of free berries and prepare this gorgeous dessert.
The darkness is drawing in, fires are being lit, gloves are being darned and we’re craving stews over salads.
The cold air might not be making the change of season many friends, but the hedgerow bounty more than makes up for it. The wonderful thing about living in Britain at this time of year is that no matter where you live, from urban city to remote village, a bramble bush is never too far away. Free berries! And plenty for everyone!
Blackberry cobbler and apple and blackberry crumble with custard. Venison steaks with blackberry and port reduction, duck breasts with blackberry sauce or this beautifully fruity, light berry mousse. Blackberries are versatile, delicious and, best of all, they needn’t cost you a penny. So, get your empty Tupperware out and get over to your nearest hedgerow. Pick loads more than you can possibly eat, wash them, dry them and open freeze them on a baking tray (this way you’ll freeze the berries individually, rather than as one homogeneous mass). Once they’re frozen, you can tip them into freezer bags or Tupperware boxes to see you through the winter months. Indulge in as many blackberry dishes as you can, but try this blackberry mousse first, I promise you won’t regret it.
450g fresh blackberries, plus a few extra to garnish
4 eggs, separated
100g caster sugar
300ml double cream
4 sheets of leaf gelatine
A pinch of salt
Blitz the blackberries in the food processor and pass through a sieve. Discard the seeds and reserve the purée.
Whisk the egg yolks and sugar until pale and fluffy. Place the cream in a saucepan over a gentle heat. Once the cream scalds, pour it into the egg mixture, whisk and return to the pan. Stir continuously over a low heat until the custard thickens slightly. Decant into a jug and stir in the blackberry purée. Cover with cling film and leave to cool completely.
Soak the gelatine in cold water for 10 minutes. Squeeze out the excess water and whisk in a tablespoon of boiling water to melt it, before whisking it into the blackberry custard.
In a separate and spotlessly clean bowl, whisk the egg whites with the salt until soft peaks form and fold into the custard with a large metal spoon until completely incorporated. Pour into glasses and pop in the fridge to set overnight. Decorate with a few blackberries and serve.
Visit Great British Chefs for more inspiring blackberry recipes.