Blackberry Jelly and Blackberry Pie

Sally Wise likes her blackberry two ways: as a jelly to be spread on scones or fresh baked bread, and encased in crust.

Another weekend has passed with a frenzy of preserving, so wonderful!  The mustard fruits are almost made, just waiting for them to cool before adding that liquid gold, mustard essence.  In Angela Hartnett’s book (“Cucina”) she says that they are delicious served with meats and cheese.  Can’t wait to try them out.

I had fun preserving peaches and plums as well, but my weekend favourite turned out to be blackberries.

Our dear friend Richard brought blackberries that he’d picked from the fields around the Tasman Peninsula.  I couldn’t decide whether to make them into jam or a pie (a rather large pie, seeing as there was a whole bucketful).  They looked so delicious, glistening in all their glory in the pot.  It suddenly occurred to me that I could have the best of both worlds.

Often when on radio I am asked about making jellies by people who can no longer eat seeds or pips (as is the case for people with diverticular disease).  Therefore, I heated the blackberries gently until the juices were flowing well, then poured them through a sieve, collecting the juice underneath.  The blackberry pulp mixture that was left was poured into a pot for making the pie later.  The juice I proceeded to make into jelly – what a treat for scones and toast and fresh baked bread.  My Nan used to eat fresh bread and jam and cream.  She was thin as a whippet but could eat up to 6 slices of jam spread thickly on bread, topped with a generous amount of sweetened whipped cream.  It is beyond delicious, and certainly worth a try maybe just once or twice.  Pity I didn’t inherit her slim genes.

You could use virtually any type of berry instead of blackberries, though I don’t think strawberries would be so good.

Here is how I made the jelly:

Blackberry Jelly

4 cups juice drained from gently heated blackberries

4 cups sugar

Heat the juice and simmer one minute.  Add the sugar and stir until dissolved.  Bring back to the boil and simmer 20 to 25 minutes until setting point is reached.*

*Place 2 teaspoons of the hot mixture on a cold saucer, place in the fridge for a few minutes.  Run your finger through the cold jam; if the surface is quite firm and wrinkles when you pull your finger through it, the jam has reached setting point.

Blackberry Pie

To make the blackberry pie, you can simply add sugar to taste to the blackberries and heat the mixture until boiling.  Mix together some cornflour and a little over an equal amount of water and stir enough into the blackberries to thicken it.  Cool.

Of course if you don’t want to make the jelly from th jucie, just cook up blackberries normally, still keeping the all the juice in the mixture – either way, it’s going to be delicious.  You will need about 500 to 600g blackberries.

For the pastry:

125g butter

125g sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon lemon rind

110g plain flour

110g self raising flour

30g custard powder

A little egg white, lightly beaten

Cream together the butter and sugar, then whisk in the lemon rind and egg until well combined, then fold in the combined flours and custard powder.  Wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 180°C fan forced (20° more if not).  Grease a 20cm pie dish.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out two thirds of the pastry to fit the base and sides of the pie dish.  Brush all over with the egg white.  Pour in the blackberry mixture.  Roll the other piece of pastry for the top and fit into place.  Crimp the edges together.  Prick in several places with a fork.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the pastry is golden.

The pie cuts out better if left to cool for 20 minutes or more.

Serve with whipped sweetened cream or ice cream.