Thursday, December 6, 2007
I can't believe that it's almost berry time again. This year has flown so quickly. It seems like barely yesterday that I was busy filling up containers with juicy jewels of raspberries, blackberries, youngberries and brambleberries and now it's time to pick again.
Berries are my favourite of fruits. I love them fresh from the vine (one for the container, one for me...), mixed into fresh tarts, desserts and cakes and used to make jam or ice-cream.
Each year my family and I go berry picking. Not only is it cheaper than buying punnets from the markets but it's so much more fun to fill your own containers and we make quite a day of it. The first thing I do when I get home is to make raspberry jam and a fresh raspberry tart and then I divide the berries up into containers to freeze and use throughout the year. This year, I've been quite frugal with the berries, not wanting to run out, so now I'm frantically using up the last batches before they are filled again next weekend.
While deciding what to make, I found a recipe by Stephanie Alexander called "Prue's Blueberry Bake". Despite the name, the recipe says you can substitute raspberries or mulberries instead of blueberries. As I had blackberries, I used them instead and they worked well. The berry bake is a cross between a cake and a slice: you make a basic butter cake and then spread it into a lamington tin, top with berries and walnuts, and bake. Although it tastes like a cake, it looks like a slice. It is extremely easy to make and is perfect for a mid-morning snack or for afternoon tea.
PRUE'S BLUEBERRY BAKE
125g unsalted butter, soft
1 cup sugar
2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarb soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
200ml sour cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
250g blueberries, raspberries, mulberries or blackberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup icing sugar
About 2 tablespoons hot water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Cream butter and sugar, then add eggs one at a time. Sift flour, bicarb soda and baking powder into a bowl and fold into the butter mixture alternately with the cream and lemon juice until you have a smooth batter.
Pour into a lined lamington tin (30cm x 21cm) and sprinkle over the berries and walnuts (these will sink as the cake bakes). Bake for 50-60 minutes or until golden on top. Cool in the tin.
To make icing, sift the icing sugar into a small bowl. Add hot water and mix with a fork until you have a thick, smooth pourable paste. Mix in the vanilla extract. Drizzle over the cooled cake and allow to set before serving.