Blackberry and Apple Crumble

Yowsas! Did we pick the hell out of those blackberries or what! Seriously, too many blackberries to know what to do with, which is why there will be three subsequent posts all with blackberries as the main ingredient. Not that that is a bad thing. Blackberries, after all, are probably my favourite berry after the delightful strawb:) It was baking hot day yesterday - perfect berry picking weather - and we spent two and half hours along one very long country path picking the ripest ones we could get our hands on. Michelle and I made a crucial footwear error and ended up with some stings on our feet - silly girls! Of course, hubbie was appropriately dressed and managed to scramble into bushes to reach the juiciest, plumpest blackberries you ever did see:)

Michelle definitely won on quantity with my haul looking pretty meagre in comparison. My only excuse is that Hubbie and his Sister are seasoned blackberry pickers whilst yesterday was my first time foraging - excuses, excuses! We had a lovely afternoon and all the while I had ideas of what to do with the lot whirring about my head.

A crumble was a must as it's a classic and I haven't had one since turning vegan. Michelle had previously suggested jam with the thinking we could enjoy our blackberries in the winter -  brilliant! She'd kindly given me a little bottle of elderberry mead (a sweet Cornish homemade wine) and I thought it would make a great, if rather alcoholic, addition to the jam - the boiling will probably destroy any real alcoholic content but as mead is pretty potent I'm sure there'll be a little kick to it;) Finally, as I'm an ice-cream obsessive (at last I managed to try Booja Booja and it rocked!) I thought a blackberry ice-cream would go down a treat.

As per usual, because we are still in holiday mode we ate the crumble at 11pm, not that it mattered as we stayed up until 2am watching episodes of Mad Men - how I love that programme!! In my world you cannot have crumble without custard and alpro soya's vanilla flavoured one is seriously damn good - it doesn't even form an icky skin when cooled. The crumble itself was delicious with a capital D; not too tart, not too sweet and with a good fruit, crumble ratio - my preference is to have more fruit, as it is less heavy this way. I used half brown rice flour and half ground almonds, which added a bit more interest to the topping and I also threw in a handful of pumpkin seeds and chopped pecans for texture.

Phew! I'm almost worn out from typing out this first post but I will not let that deter me. Next up - blackberry and mead jam!

blackberry and apple crumble

4/5 cups blackberries

2 royal gala apples

4 tbsp organic unrefined granulated sugar (or whatever sweetener you like)

5 tbsp soya butter/spread (I used Pure)

1/2 cup brown rice flour

1/2 ground almonds

1/4 cup unrefined granulated sugar (and more for sprinkling)

handful pumpkin seeds

handful roughly chopped pecans

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees celsius/350 degrees farhenheit.

Thoroughly rinse the blackberries and a put in a large pan. Peel and core the apple and cut into chunks.

Add 1/4 cup water and the sugar and bring to a gentle simmer allowing the fruit to soften but not loose their shape - about 10mins should do it. Transfer to an ovenproof dish.

In a bowl combine the flour, ground almonds, sugar and butter. Make sure the dish and butter are cold - I put the dish in the fridge/freezer for a few minutes beforehand. Work the butter gently into the flour mix using your fingers to incorporate it. You can leave it quite chunky or create a fine crumble, which is my preference. At the very end add the pumpkin seeds and pecans ensuring they are evenly combined.

Sprinkle evenly over the fruit, along with a tablespoon or so of sugar for extra crunch! Bake in oven for 30minutes until you see the juices bubbling at the edge and the topping is golden.

Serve with dairy free custard.

dessert, veganAine Carlin