Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Apple & Blackberry Duff

For a full week, the blackberries would ripen

At first, just one, a glossy purple clot

Among others, red, green, hard as a knot

Seamus Heaney - Blackberry Picking

Love blackberries, the mix of sharp and sweet and the extraordinary depth of shiny blackness, the tiny bursts of liquid released from their myriad of tiny dimples, the juice stains face and fingers and clothes. Food to make you smile.

With absolute certainty I associate them with autumn. How wrong I can be? Turns out that cultivated varieties ripen mid July and they are abundant through August and much of September. Then comes Devil Spit Day - I kid you not - on September 29th, which is when Satan spits on all the unpicked fruit. Really no putting them in your mouth after that!

Last week I bought a pudding sleeve with which to make steamed puddings. It may still be lovely and warm in London but one of the myriad joys of a steam oven is the fact it doesn't heat the kitchen, only the food, so it's great to use any time. The pudding sleeve is a funny little metal contraption in two parts that slot together and clip shut which comes with a tiny booklet of suggested recipes. Very pleased with my purchase I asked the man to choose what he'd like as the inaugural delight. Being the cakey pig in our relationship, with a particular fondness for trad Brit, he is far more qualified than me to take such decisions - and I was certain he would choose spotted dick. No. He liked the sound of apple and blackberry duff.

No problem. Except it's not autumn and I was sure there would be no blackberries. At my local fruit shop on Brixton Road on Saturday I discovered tiny boxes of well past it berries, from Kent. They smelt like they'd been kept in the dark since last autumn so wasn't tempted. Talk about not making the connection! In Jellied Eel, a magazine from Sustain that I flick through but don't warm to, there was a list of what's in season this month. Top of the fruit list? Blackberries. You really can learn something every day.

The main display at the entrance of the local Waitrose when I went in Monday afternoon? Blackberries. So I grabbed a punnet, a big Bramley apple and a packet of suet. Duff it would be.

Apple & Blackberry Duff

6 servings - with lashings of cream!

150g self raising flour
1/2 level tspn baking powder

25g caster sugar

75g shredded suet - ask your butcher or buy Atori from a shop

5-6 tbspns (fridge) cold water

1 large Bramley apple - peeled, cored and diced

1/2 level tspn ground cinnamon

1 tbspn caster sugar

100-150g fresh blackberries

If you have a pudding sleeve grease it lightly but thoroughly. If not, dampen and then flour one side of a cloth or tea towel.

Combine the flour, baking powder, 25g caster sugar and the suet in a bowl. Add the cold water and mix to a soft, but not sticky, dough.

Lightly flour the bench top and roll the dough out to a rectangle roughly 18 x 30 cms.

Arrange the diced apple over the dough, leaving a clear 1-2 cm border all the way round. Sprinkle the apple with cinnamon and the tablespoon of caster sugar. Dot the blackberries over the top.

Turn the clear edges of the long sides in over the beginning of the fruit, so that the filling is secured. Then, from the short edge closest to you, swiftly roll the dough to encase the filling.

Place the duff in the base (the slotted part) of the greased pudding sleeve. Engage the top part of the sleeve in the slots and secure the clip.

If you are using a cloth, put the rolled duff onto the short edge of the cloth and roll tightly, then sucure the ends with string.

Either way, steam for 90 minutes.

Serve immediately with thick cream or a dollop of crème fraiche.


5am Foodie said...

Hi Bron. I LOVE BLACKBERRIES (yes, I meant to write that in caps!). They are my absolute favourite berries. The ones at our allotment are starting to ripen and I have an apple and blackberry crisp in mind for dessert tonight. Mmmm.

I'm intrigued by your pudding sleeve contraption. I'm a complete novice in terms of steamed puddings but I'm guessing this would make them much easier to make, and keep the kitchen at a reasonable temperature as well!

bron said...

And matching them with apples makes them perfection I think Michele!

I'm much enamoured of the pudding sleeve, made a very neat rolled pudding and easy peasy to clean. Thinking jam roly poly next...

Valentina said...

I had never heard of 'duffs'. must look it up. I have already been blackberry picking. they had some really huge ones at my local PYO. so beautiful . I love eating them with youghurt. and baking as well. The marriage with apples is so perfect - they complement each other

bron said...

Valentina you're so lucky, like Michele, to have them locally to pick. Definitely the best way to get them - and I love how messy the process can be.

Duff is an word for dough apparently - I looked it up too! Found this funny piece about 'up the duff' - http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/397300.html - and the connection to puddings. Amongst other things.

Eleanor Dare PhD Journal part II said...

Thankyou for your comment about Borough Market on my own Blog - it reads like poetry
"I come each week to shop but still my resistance ebbs and flows. I will have the ostrich salami. I won't have that bread. But I yearn for bread and find it in other places. " my cartographies of constraint are puny in the face of such sensory exuberance - sorry I am so slow to reply...

lee woo said...

Very interesting for an old duffer like me to try his hand at something new. If I don't do that once in a while, I might just turn into a fossil, you know! See the link below for more info.


Anonymous said...

Can this recipe be convert to cups and tablespoons

Bron said...

Should work, I'm sure. Plenty of conversion sites to google, just be sure to use only one site and specify the type of cups - think American cup sizes are different to European or Antipodean.