Blackberries are right up there with raspberries in my book. I love them. The season is too short, so I load up when I have the chance. Yvon Nervi, a farmer in nearby Cereste, cultivates blackberries along with tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, melons and more. I like all of his produce, but it’s those berries that beckon me these days.
Fat, juicy, slightly tart — his berries are much bigger than those wild berries that grow along the road leading to our village. Nonetheless, his berries are “sauvage,” (wild), he explained. He dug up wild berry plants, replanted them on his farm where he gives them TLC — pruning, watering, etc. He has about 100 plants.
Yesterday he told me the berries are about finished for the season. I bought all five containers he had, and froze the contents of four. (google “freezing blackberries” for instructions).
The following is one of my favorite blackberry desserts. I clipped the recipe from a newspaper column featuring reader’s recipes many, many years ago. It was submitted by Denise Maquire of St. Petersburg, Fla. Thank you, Denise.
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, 1/2 stick cut into bits and chilled
1 cup water
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups self-rising cake flour
1/3 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 cups fresh or thawed frozen blackberries
Accompaniment: vanilla ice cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In the oven, melt 1/2 stick butter in a 10-inch glass pie plate or baking dish.
In a small saucepan combine water and 1 cup sugar and heat over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until sugar is completely dissolved.
In a food processor, pulse together flour and remaining 1/2 stick cut-up butter until mixture resembles fine meal. Add milk and pulse just until a dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and with a floured rolling pin roll into an 11-by-9-inch rectangle. Sprinkle dough with cinnamon and scatter blackberries evenly over the top. Beginning with a long side, roll up dough jelly roll fashion and cut into 1 1/2-inch thick slices. (This can be tricky. Slices will come apart, berries will fall out and it will be messy. ) Arrange slices, cut sides up, in pie plate or baking dish. Stuff in any berries that have fallen out.
Pour sugar syrup over slices, soaking dough, and bake cobbler in middle of oven for 45 minutes, or less depending on your oven. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over cobbler and bake about 15 minutes more, or until golden. SERVES 6