The fall guys
It’s hard to beat the classic combo of apples and blackberries, says Rachel Allen, who loves cooking them together in pies and puddings. Photography by Tony Gavin
With each season, comes a magical pairing that works every time: gooseberry and elderflower; tomato and basil; and wild salmon and asparagus. These are just some of nature’s precious bounty that happen to grow together, if even just for a short, blissful crossover of time .
Another of Mother Nature’s clever coincidences is that blackberries and apples both fruit concurrently, making them the Brad and Angelina of autumn. Piled into a pie, baked in a crumble or stewed together in a jam, these two vitaminC-laden fruits complement each other perfectly. The dark, almost spicy, tannin-rich blackberry loves the fresh, sweet, green-apple flavour, and of course, for the best taste and nutritional kick, go for wild blackberries from the hedgerows and apples from local trees. As well as their healthy amount of vitamin C, blackberries are also thought to be great for the brain, giving us clarity of mind and a good memory too, and if that wasn’t enough, they’re even applauded for helping to tighten the skin — Botox in a berry, anyone?
This apple and blackberry fool, right, is an old-fashioned goodie, one that’s just great after a Sunday roast, with the crumbly, buttery shortbread biscuits, below right, dipped in for good measure.
The Irish apple and blackberry cake, below right, is a variation of an old Ballymaloe recipe that uses just apples. This is the kind of cake that most farmhouses would have seen a version of in the last century — give me a slice of this cake with a cup of tea, and I’m very happy.
The crunchy apple and blackberry oat crumble, above right, is a new favourite of mine, combining a fruity crumble base with a topping of sweet caramelised almonds and oats. And lastly, should you have a glut of blackberries, why not try a shot of the blackberry vodka, far right? Any more and I wouldn’t count on clarity of mind and excellent memory.