Wow! It was a blackberry blast at Mr. Sickles’ Blackberry class today. I got home just before the late afternoon thunderstorm hit - the temperature dropped 15 degrees on the short trip to my house. The sudden change in weather from 90 something to 70 something made this a classic summer day in every way and berries, berries, everywhere just made it feel even more so. We are in what people call “high summer” right now and we gorged ourselves on the most delicious blackberries!
We made Ginny Sickles’ Blackberry Cobbler (Bob’s sister’s recipe – thank you for sharing, Bob) and it was a big hit. Different than your usual cobbler the crust is actually a wonderful soft cake batter baked over lightly sugared berries. Wait until you see the photo! - I baked it in my favorite blue speckled deep dish pie plate - it looks like it should be sitting on the windowsill cooling in Norman Rockwell’s kitchen! Next was a beautiful summer trifle, pan seared chicken with blackberry-ginger sauce and blackberries topped with mascarpone whipped cream and almonds.
|Blackberry Cobbler before the oven|
|The Blackberry Cobbler fresh out of the oven|
The best food memory triggered for me today was thinking about how I used to wait all year long until July and August to come to Sickles just to buy the blackberries. I grew up in Middletown and we would always come over for the amazing corn all summer, but when the blackberries came in I could not get enough. Endless cobblers and turnovers, in cereal with ice cold milk sitting on the porch in the morning - summer just doesn’t get any better than that. And now, here I am, using them to do a cooking class so that the rest of the world gets to find out about this local treasure.
|Carol in action|
Mr. Sickles, Sr. thanked me the other day for using his blackberries in the class and in the farm to table products we are baking now for sale in the market. Are you kidding? THANK YOU MR. SICKLES for doing what you do, for all the years you have done it, humbly and honestly and with such attention to what the current locavore movement is “rediscovering” - great produce grows from hard work and sweat equity. You are MY hero and this blog is a blackberry love letter to you!
|Look at those gorgeous Blackberries!|
|The class at full attention|
Another great way to use our blackberries is in a crisp. This recipe can be used all summer long – just switch up the fruit as the season progresses. Make up your own combinations – you can experiment here and it’s all good!
SICKLES’ BLACKBERRY-PEACH CRISP
This healthy version of a fruit crisp uses a whole-grain crumble of whole-wheat flour and rolled oats that's gently sweetened with honey, so you save calories and get almost 5 grams of fiber per serving. Feel free to swap in other fruit options to take advantage of the season's freshest picks.
Yield: Makes 4 servings
Canola-oil cooking spray
1 cup fresh Sickles’ blackberries
1 cup fresh Jersey peaches, pitted and sliced
4 tsp fresh orange juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp whole-wheat flour
3 tbsp rolled oats
2 tbsp brown sugar
4 tsp canola oil
2 tsp honey
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg, fresh grated
Heat oven to 375°F. Coat four 4-oz ramekins with cooking spray. Combine berries, peaches, juice and vanilla in a bowl and mix well. In a separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients with hands until moist and crumbly. Spoon fruit mixture into ramekins; scatter crumb mixture evenly over the top of each. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until fruit bubbles and top is golden brown.
Even better served with vanilla ice cream, Even better than that served with our Jeni’s Ugandan Vanilla Bean ice Cream!