“O come at last, to whom the spring-tide’s hope
Looked for through blossoms, what hast thou for me?
Green grows the grass upon the dewy slope
Beaneath thy gold hung, grey leaved apple tree
Moveless, e’en as the autumn fain would be
That shades its sad eyes from the rising sun
And weeps at eve because the day is done”
September – William Morris
Autumn is the pefect season. Crisp mornings giving way to warm sunshine, pretty coloured, crispy leaves to kick around, and every hedgerow bursting with free food (the best kind) Now is the time to go foraging for fruits, nuts and berries, mushrooms too if you feel brave (I’m not) Do make sure you know what you are picking, blackberries are easy to recognize but there are a multitude of other berries that look very much alike, you don’t want to be poisoned now do you? If you’re not experienced take a guide book with you. If in doubt – DON’T EAT IT!! Some berries are fine cooked but not raw so don’t put your fingers in your mouth while picking, if you don’t believe me look up “purgative” in the dictionary and ponder it’s meaning.
First pick your blackberries (if you buy blackberries from the supermarket between August and October I will never respect you again (unless it’s been raining and they’re all squishy), it only takes a few minutes to pop out to the nearest alleyway/wasteground/disused railway/neighbours garden to pick a couple of handfuls, which is all you need). Now it’s time to make September’s cake of the month, based on that wonderfully comforting British classic pudding, apple crumble.
Blackberry and Apple Crumble Cake
Based on a traditional Somerset apple cake
- 4oz (120g) Butter
- 6oz (180g) brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 8oz (240g) white or brown plain flour
- 1tsp mixed spice
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 cooking apples
- a couple of handfuls of fresh blackberries
- 4 tbsp milk
For the crumble topping:
- 4oz (120g) plain flour
- 2oz (60g) butter
- 1oz (30g) granulated sugar
Pre heat the oven to 170ºc (325ºf). Grease and line an 8 inch cake tin, a springform one is the best, it’s tricky to get out of a loose bottomed tin because of the crumble topping!
Make the crumble first. Put all the ingredients in a bowl and rub together until they resemble breadcrumbs. Put to one side.
Chop the apple into small cubes:
Fold in the apples, blackberries and milk. Don’t worry it the mixture seems a bit stiff, the fruit releases moisture as it cooks, so don’t add any more liquid.
Spoon the mixture into the tin and level the surface. Sprinkle the crumble mix over the top. Bake for around 40 mins or until a skewer poked in the middle comes out clean. If it seems to be too brown before being cooked in the centre, cover with a sheet of baking paper (not foil).
Leave to cool in the tin for 10 mins tham gently ease it out and cool on a wire tray.
Lovely served warm or cold, especially with clotted cream!
“Season of mist and mellow fruitfulness” – Keats