Being on vacation in “Balkonien” – a German expression for staying at home on vacation and enjoying your balcony – has finally given me time to do so many of the things I love and enjoy and which help me relax. Like blackberry picking!
I have been eyeing the bushes and brambles from our airy nest on the 10th floor and am lucky to have such abundance on my doorstep. Squished in between the highway and the local prison a string of allotments and their blackberry bramble hedges creates a biotope as heady and filled with plant and animal life as city living can offer.
We feel lucky to have it so close and so diverse – letting us forget for a while the constant rumbling of cars and trucks going by. Alas no world is perfect. The views from the 10th floor are stunning the apartment light, spacious and warm.
But blackberries there shall be and this year the bounty seems endless.
Wading through the tall grass and weeds, having this year equipped myself well to attempt an unscathed escape with my loot I come away with only a few scratches here and there, a thorny pointer finger (ouch) and a burr or two stuck to shoes and clothing.
I returned to Rapunzel’s tower with about two kilos or 12 cups of succulent fruit and I only did half the patch. LOL!
I love the rhythmic picking of fruit that lets my mind wonder off on its own paths of thought.
Give me meat bones to pick, a chicken to de-carcass, crab or lobster to be cracked or berries to pick and I am a very happy camper.
I feel free and can float away into the beauty of nature’s bounty, hearing no noise but the thoughts rambling through my head and a light buzzing of bees or the chirping of birds.
Being home alone during the day then lets me get on to pleasure part 2 – the preparing, cooking, baking and jam making of that which I have collected.
Over the next two days I will be sharing 3 blackberry recipes with you:
- one today for Black & Blue: Berry-Filled Chocolate Cannoli
- and two tomorrow: Blackberry Jam with Lime, Chili & Cinnamon and
Blackberry Jam with Saturn Donut Peaches
The cannoli are inspired by Katerina from Diethood’s Black Forest Cannoli which I had “pinned” on Must Make Recipes board but with my own fruity twist using blackberries and blueberries and sheep’s yoghurt instead of just whipped cream.
My two blackberry jams are variations of spicy and sweet – all three recipes used the same cooked blackberry purée and were made on one day.
I have one cup of blackberry purée leftover to go in the blueberry birthday pie I will make today for Jasper’s 16th birthday.
Blackberry Purée a la yumandmore
- 12 cups / 1800 grams of blackberries – most stems removed and washed well twice
- 1 TBSP cassis liqueur
- 1 TBSP Kahlua coffee liqueur
- 2 longberry peppercorns
- 1 1/2 cups /300 grams of sugar
1. Place all the ingredients in a big pot. Stir well and heat over medium heat until boiling stirring often. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes covered and stirring often.
2.Let cool about 5 minutes with the lid on. Now take 2 large pots and hang a sieve over one and fill with the berry mixture. Use a wooden spoon or Caipirinha stick to make and stir the berries through the mesh. Scrape the bottom of the sieve often into the pot this will help gather the fruit pulp.
3. About halfway through the big pot, discard the seeds in the sieve and use the second pot for the second half. This prevents the sieve from sitting in the purée which you don’t want.
4. Cover and let sit in a cool place until using. Can also sit cool and dark over night.
I hope you enjoy these recipes and don’t worry so much about how dirty or polluted you think blackberries could be – they are an ancient fruit and they grow wild and free. Wash well twice and make sure to boil then you should be fine. And a last piece of advice: definitely avoid dog-level berries!!! Reach for the skies instead!
Black & Blue Berry-Filled Chocolate Cannoli
I followed Diethood’s recipe as listed below to make 8 chocolate cannoli
- 2 large egg whites
- 1/3 cup / 67 grams sugar
- 1 TBSP canola oil – I used sunflower ‘cuz its what I had
- 1 TBSP / 15 grams butter, melted – I used lactose-free
- 2 tsps pure vanilla extract
- 1 TBSP cocoa powder
- 1/3 cup / 43 grams all-purpose flour
Instructions for the cannoli:
1. Preheat oven to 375° F / 190° C. Lightly grease two baking sheets with baking spray or cover with baking paper; set aside.
2. In a medium-size bowl whisk together the egg whites, sugar, canola oil, melted butter, and vanilla. Whisk until thoroughly combined. Add in cocoa powder and flour; continue to whisk until smooth, and no lumps appear.
3. Spoon 4 mounds of batter onto each baking sheet, using 3 teaspoons of batter for each, spacing cookies 3 inches apart. With the back of the spoon, spread each cookie to about 4-inch diameter.
4. Bake for 6 to 7 minutes, or until edges begin to brown.
Note: the top sheet was perfect the bottom sheet need an extra 3-4 minutes which was fine since you should do 1 sheet at a time because they become cold and dry and break easily so a bit of speed is advised.
5. Using an offset spatula, loosen cookies from baking sheet and shape into tube form.
You can use a round metal utensil and wrap the cookies around that – I used the handle of my potato masher – it was perfect.
6. Set cannolis seam-side down and let cool on a wire rack.
While the cannoli are cooling you can make the the filling as follows. You can fill the cannoli on the same day when they are cold and the filling has thickened or on the next day. I simply left the cannoli on the wire rack in a cool dark place and the filling in the fridge.
Ingredients for yumandmore’s Black & Blue Berry Cannoli Filling
- 220 grams / 1 3/4 cups of blueberries
- 200 grams / 3/4 cup + 1 TBSP of sheep’s milk yoghurt
or Greek full-fat yoghurt – it should be thick
- 1 ½ TBSPs powdered sugar
- 1 TBSP agave syrup or honey
- 1 cup of blackberry purée – see recipe above
- 200 ml / 3/4 cup whipping cream – I used vegetable-based
1. Beat the whipping cream with the powdered sugar until thick.
2. In another bowl whisk together the yoghurt and agave or honey.
3. Add the blackberry purée and mix thoroughly. Now add the whipped cream and whisk gently with a wire whisk by hand to combine – more lifting than stirring or beating. Add the blueberries and mix carefully with a spoon. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
Filling and serving the cannoli
1. Fill a freezer bag with the filling and cut a hole in one corner large enough to let the blueberries pass through. Gently pick up a cannoli and squeeze the filling first into one end and then into the other. It should “hang out” slightly and prettily on either side. Place the cannoli on your serving dish and continue until all eight are filling. You should have some filling leftover but using (eating) that up shouldn’t be a problem.
2. Arrange the cannoli nicely on your serving dish and dust with powdered sugar. Leftover cannoli can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container the cannoli will then be softer to the bite.
These cannoli were delicious and quite easy to make. The looked festive and would be a great bring along dessert.
See you tomorrow for yumandmore’s Blackberry Jams!