Walking down the ginnel from the Tube the other day, I noticed tonnes of fat brambles through the fence. In the scrub at the edge of our estate (council, not family, obviously) there are huge bramble bushes that I forget entirely for the other 11 months of the year, all in that perfect state of berriness ranging from hard and green to fat and purple-black, guaranteeing weeks’ worth of good cropping.
If I was getting hitched any time soon, I would definitely want some bramble-flavoured things at my feast - not only are they completely delicious, they are also free£££££££££eeee. And if you’re worried about getting bramble juice on you, what are you going to serve? White wine and veal?
So here are my three favourite bramble recipes:
300ml double cream
two big handfuls of brambles
three or four tablespoons of lemon curd
Delia’s recipe's great for meringue, just follow that; I used three medium egg whites for a pavlova that would easily have served between six and eight, to give you some idea of numbers, so you can just work out from how much of everything you need. Once the pavlova is cooked and cooled, layer on some lightly whipped cream (so it still slops off the spoon, not beaten so hard it's getting butter fat globules in and you have to slice it off), drizzle some lemon curd all over it all, pile on some brambles and scatter with chopped hazelnuts.
Give me a day or two, and I’ll give you my lemon curd recipe too.
squeeze of lemon
couple of brambles
Those are the official ingredients, which I’m sure you’re capable of tossing together yourself to taste, but if you’re catering for loads of folk, chambord and lemonade with some brambles and sprigs of fresh mint are just the ticket.
BRAMBLE AND PEAR COBBLER
I was going to make this a crumble (180g plain flour, 75g cold, cold butter, 70g caster sugar and a handful of chopped hazelnuts - blitz in a food processor or sift and rub until a crumble forms. Also great to just keep in the freezer for EMERGENCY DESSERTS no I don’t know what that means either) but I make them so often that I thought I’d try something else. I was also curious about cobbler as the American fiction I read as a teen always used “peach cobbler” as a geographic placing device for a Southern beauty who felt way out of her depth in New York/her liberal college/somewhere they didn’t serve peach cobbler.
Cobbler, it turns out, is even easier than crumble. Or just as easy. Whatever, it’s not hard work. To adapt this Delicious recipe, I put some chopped stem ginger in syrup plus a little bit of grated lemon zest with the pear and brambles, and some nutmeg instead of cinnamon in the dough. Serve that sucker with cold, cold cream, custard or vanilla ice cream. Which I shall also give you a recipe for when I get round to it.
Last summer, a group of kids helped me pick tonnes of brambles so I gave them each a jar of the jam as a thank you. I pictured a musical montage of the coming years, as I mentored local youths through my forraging feasts. SPOILER: Didn’t happen.