Monday, 29 September 2014

More and More Blueberries!

Blueberry Muffins

fresh fruit victoria sponge.
Vanilla cream and fresh berry sponge cake.

This years weird weather has definitely taken it's toll on our veg patch in the back of beyond. It was very late in the spring before the soil had dried up enough (after the monsoon like weather we had at the beginning of the year) to be able to plant anything. We got a few rows of onions and carrots into the ground but apart from that our patch is pretty much barren. Our lettuce refused to germinate, our rocket patch (which self seeds every year, normally) did not recover from it's winter mawling by our pet rabbit and our strawberries hardly had a bloom anywhere. Bizarrely our blueberries have flourished and I am struggling to keep up with supply. After the last couple of seasons which have given poor crops this year the bushes are heaving with delicious, inky blue fruit. Covering our bushes with netting to stop the birdies munching their way through my berries has certainly helped with the yield but I am overrun with them and getting bored of blueberry muffins, although my colleagues will disagree I'm sure. So far this summer I have baked muffins, added them to a fresh fruit sponge, made a blueberry and cream cheese frosted cake, made donations to our neighbour and friends, frozen some, and now today, as the days get shorter and the mornings chillier, I have made a blueberry and apple cobbler. Cobblers are I suppose the American equalivant to our crumble and I have grown to love them possibly slightly more than our humble crumble

Apple and Blueberry cobbler
Apple and Blueberry Cobbler

For the filling;
60g unsalted butter
5-6 cooking apples peeled, cored and sliced.
50g light brown sugar
20g caster sugar
1/2 tsp mixed spicw
200g blueberries

For the topping
170g Plain flour
60g caster sugar
50g light brown sugar plus 3tbsp for sprinkling
1tsp baking powder
120g  cold unsalted butter cubed
60ml boiling water

Preheat oven to 180c

First make the filling. In a large pan, melt the butter, add the apple sugars and mixed spice. Stir thoroughly to make sure the apples are coated in the other ingredients. Cook the apples over a medium heat until they start to soften. Once the apples are cooked, stir the blueberries through the mixture. Place the fruit mixture in a deep 23cm pie plate or baking dish.

For the topping I use my food processor with the blade attachment but you can mix it with your hands. Combine flour, sugars and baking powder then add the cubed butter and mix until you have a breadcrumb consistency. (if using your hands you will need to rub in the butter) Remove your bowl from the food processor and discard the blade. Add the boiling water and mix this in with a fork until just combined. This should form a soft doughy consistency.

Using a spoon drop small pieces of the dough over the top of the fruit covering the entire dish. Sprinkle the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar generously over the top of the dough.

Bake the cobbler for approximately 35-40 minutes or until the topping is a rich golden brown. Allow to cool slightly before serving.