Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Blackberries are still in abundance, ripening and available at the farmer’s markets (as well as on bushes by the roadside, in parking lots and along sidewalks...I’m seeing them everywhere!). These blackberries call out to me and the desire to make something with them is strong.
I recall seeing a recipe of Heidi Swanson’s (of 101 Cookbooks) for a blackberry compote sweetened with maple syrup. Anything involving maple syrup sticks in my memory. I think this must be due to my New England roots, plus its distinct sweetness adds such a depth of flavor to both sweet and savory dishes. I prefer to use Grade B syrup for its darker color and more concentrated taste. With a flat of blackberries and jug of maple syrup in hand, I head to the kitchen.
These gorgeous berries are huge! I chop them roughly in half, just enough so that they blend into more of a sauce but retain some texture. A word of caution, when cutting them they will splatter juice everywhere! I hardly went crazy chopping, but ended up wiping drips and dribbles of juice off the counter, from the sides of the cabinets and up on shelves. A worthwhile endeavor, though!
As the blackberries and maple syrup simmer together, my kitchen fills with a fabulous aroma. After stirring in some lemon zest and freshly grated ginger, I begin sampling. Is it tart? Is it sweet? Just one more taste...totally addictive.
The compote is a delightful mix of summer and fall flavors. It is perfect to eat straight from the jar, stir into oatmeal, top pancakes or add to a cheese plate. I plan to serve it for dessert this week alongside homemade honey thyme ice cream. Enjoy some blackberry bliss!
Inspired by Heidi Swanson
Makes 1 1/2 pints
4 very full pints of blackberries, cut in half
4 tablespoons pure maple syrup (Grade B if possible)
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
1 lemon, zested
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
3/4 teaspoons salt
In a medium size sauce pan, bring 2 cups of the berries, the maple syrup and sugar to a simmer. Let cook for 10 minutes. Remove pan from the heat and stir in the remaining fresh berries, lemon zest, ginger and salt. Let cool.
Ladle into jars or a sealed container. Spoon out as desired! It will keep in the fridge for a week.