So the Male of the Species and I went up to visit the Rural Artist this weekend, for a variety of reasons including the delivery of one mystery vegetable (as mentioned by Arwen). She swears it’s a butternut and that I don’t know what I’m talking about. We’ll see. She hasn’t opened it yet.
Anyway, while up there it occurred to me that, being February, it’s blackberry season. Like most rural properties there are quite a number of blackberry bushes scattered around the place, so the Male of the Species, Mo the dog and I went up the hill in the rain to pick blackberries. May I take this moment to say that, if it ever occurs to you to pick blackberries in the rain, don’t. Raincoat sleeves are too baggy for it and while they mean you don’t get scratched all that much, you do end up just a tiny bit tangled 🙂
Anyway, rain aside we picked a successful haul of blackberries. We split them half/half with the Rural Artist, ending up with roughly a kilo each, and an unsurprising number of blackberry thorns in our fingers. On the way home, the Male of the Species put his backpack on top of the bag containing them, which left them rather squished and aesthetically unfit for having with icecream and blackberry wine as I had planned. This left me with rather a lot of blackberries that needed using, but couldn’t really be used as a side with something, since most of the berries weren’t whole. At this point, you’re probably thinking blackberry pie, and so was I. However, this week I am at home alone, which means that a blackberry pie is a) too big to be consumed by me alone and b) far too much effort for me alone. So when lunchtime came around today I decided to have them for lunch in a jaffle-pie, the lazy man’s pie effort. I’ve done this a few times before with strawberries- for a while strawberries were a dollar a punnet in Sydney and I practically subsisted on them, so I thought I should give it a shot with blackberries instead.
You start with a sheet of puff pastry- I suppose you could also do it with shortcrust or filo, but I’ve never tried it and puff is what I had on hand. You don’t need to thaw it, since your jaffle maker should be preheated anyway. Lie it so that half of it is over the bread spaces, then press it down gently just a little into the dishy bits. Then throw in a couple of spoonfuls of blackberries (or other berries), and 1 rounded dessert spoon of sugar on each side. Yes, I know it sounds like a lot, but really blackberries just aren’t that sweet. You’d have to vary the sugar amount with other berries, strawberries need less than that. You want to do the filling bit fast, since at this point the bottom of the pastry is already cooking. Then you just fold the other half over on top of it and close the lid. I didn’t grease the jaffle maker at all, and it didn’t stick for me at all, but that may not be the case for other machines. Leave it in there until the pastry has puffed up a bit and is golden brown- it should only take a few minutes. If you’re not feeling impatient, you can turn the jaffle maker off at this point and let it go a bit toffee/jam-ish in there, it’s extremely awesome that way, but I’m usually too hungry to wait. There is a downside to using blackberries though, I discovered.
They’re a lot juicier than strawberries. This was about half way through the cooking process, and there was a puddle as big on the other side. It was bigger by the time I was done. At this point I will admit to sticking in a finger and tasting it, and it was delicious 🙂 Anyway, if you’re using a juicy berries just be careful that it’s not too near anything that juice will get on.
This was the final result. It’s absolutely divine with icecream too, and it only takes about 10 minutes to do if you have the ingredients on hand. A really awesome snack for a wintery rainy day.