IT’S BERRY GOOD

Plump sun-ripened blackberries bring home sweet (and tasty) mem­o­ries.

Country Sampler's Prarie Style - - The Prairie Pantry -

Whether step­ping into the gar­den to pluck ten­der greens and fra­grant herbs at first light or strolling down a coun­try lane with a bas­ket in hand to gather wild edibles in the sun’s wan­ing hours, the sweet­est child­hood mem­o­ries are in­vari­ably of sum­mer. There’s some­thing in­her­ent in the sun­shine’s warmth that nudges us to shirk our ev­ery­day com­mit­ments and opt for stolen mo­ments sip­ping fruit-fla­vored tea on a porch swing or an im­promptu pic­nic on the grass un­der a sprawl­ing shade tree.

Pick­ing glossy red and pur­ple berries is a rit­ual that ap­peals to young and old alike. Whether sa­vored by the hand­ful from bush to belly, strewn over a dish of home­made gra­nola or top­ping a still-warm-from-the-oven cake, juicy blackberries are at their suc­cu­lent best when days and nights are of al­most equal length.

The knowl­edge of how short berry sea­son is and how fear­less one must be to brave the thorny canes makes the bounty taste all the sweeter!

IN­STRUC­TIONS 1. Pre­heat oven to 350° F. 2. Line the bot­tom of a but­tered 9 x 2- inch round cake pan with a piece of wax pa­per. But­ter the wax pa­per. 3. Sift to­gether the flour, bak­ing pow­der, bak­ing soda, and salt. 4. Beat the but­ter and cane juice to­gether in a large bowl with an elec­tric mixer un­til pale and fluffy, and then beat in the vanilla ex­tract. 5. Add the eggs one at a time, beat­ing well af­ter each ad­di­tion. With the mixer set on low speed, add the but­ter­milk un­til it just be­gins to com­bine with the but­ter, cane juice and egg mix­ture ( do not over­mix). Add the flour in three batches, mix­ing af­ter each ad­di­tion, un­til gen­tly com­bined ( do not over­mix). 6. Spoon the bat­ter into the pre­pared pan, smooth­ing the top care­fully. Set the pan on the mid­dle rack of the oven, and bake un­til a knife in­serted in the cen­ter of the cake comes out clean, about 40– 50 min­utes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack. When cool, run a knife around the edge and slide the cake onto a serv­ing plate. 7. Make the top­ping. Bring the wine, 3 ta­ble­spoons of sugar, and the grape­fruit zest to a boil in a small pan, stir­ring un­til the sugar is dis­solved. Boil un­til the syrup is re­duced to about ¼ cup. 8. Re­serve 2 ta­ble­spoons of syrup, and pour the re­main­der slowly and evenly over the cake. Stir to­gether the rest of the syrup, pre­serves, and re­main­ing 1 ta­ble­spoon of sugar in a small pan, and sim­mer, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally, un­til slightly thick­ened, about 1 minute. Ar­range the berries on the cake, and pour the syrup over. Serve warm. Gar­nish with but­ter­milk and whipped cream ( op­tional).

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