5 Sep 2008

SHORTCAKES WITH BLACKBERRY AND ORANGE COMPOTE


Blackberries are now in the hedgerows and the best news - they are free! Where I live we have an endless supply, in the hedgerows on the canal paths.

Wild blackberries are one of my favourite fruits and you can make endless desserts with them. The BBCGoodFood site have 33 recipes you can make using blackberries. UKTV Food have some wonderful recipes too.

The larger blackberries in the photograph are cultivated ones from my own garden and they taste surprisingly good, and I have mixed these with some wild blackberries. A few years ago I bought some thornless blackberry plants and this year I've picked a bowlful of berries from them almost every day.

The shortcake recipe I used was disappointing, the texture was quite dense and they were a little on the heavy side.

Nigella's shortcakes, a recipe I have made lots of times, would be perfect and I will give the recipe below for Nigella's shortcakes and the blackberry compote.

HOW TO BE A DOMESTIC GODDESS - NIGELLA LAWSON

ISBN 0701168889 - Page 69

You will need: 1 baking tray, greased, 6.5cm round cutter

For the shortcakes:

325g plain flour, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 5 tablespoons caster sugar, 125g frozen unsalted butter, 1 large egg beaten, 125ml single cream, 1 lightly beaten egg white.

1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/Gas mark 7
2. Mix the flour, salt, baking powder and 3 tablespoons of the sugar in a bowl. Grate the butter into these dry ingredients and use your fingertips to finish crumbling the butter into the flour.
3. Whisk the egg into the cream, and pour into the flour mixture a little at a time, using a fork to mix. You may not need all of the eggy cream to make the dough come together so cautiously.
4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll gently to a thickness of about 2cm. Dip the cutter in flour and cut out - you should get 8 in all.
5. Place the shortcakes about 2.5 cm apart on the baking sheet, brush the tops with egg white and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of caster sugar.
6. You can now, if necessary, cover and refrigerate them for up to 2 hours.
7. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown and let them cool for a short while on a wire rack.
8. Meanwhile, make the filling.

BBC MASTERCHEF GOES LARGE

ISBN 0091905575 - Page 179

For the filling:

250g blackberries, 1½ tablespoon caster sugar, grated zest and juice of 1 orange, 150ml double cream.

1. Place half of the blackberries in a saucepan, add the sugar, orange zest and juice. Cover the pan and cook on a low heat for a few minutes. The fruit needs to be tender and hold its shape. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
2. Beat the double cream until it forms soft peaks. Split the shortcakes in two and fill with cream and fresh blackberries. Drizzle over the compote and serve.