Cymru Culture

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Blackberry ideas: coulis and mille-feuille

(September 01, 2016)

Blackberry ideas
for nature's seasonal bounty
(these dishes are suitable for vegetarians)

Blackberries on the bush

Mid-August to mid-September is blackberry season around here. My partner and I always make use of the huge number of blackberry bushes behind our home, where the fruit available is usually abundant. It's lovely to cook seasonally (and to use free ingredients). It's also a very pleasant way to spend an hour or two, out in the fresh air and enjoying a walk in the countryside. Top tip: only wear clothes you don't mind being stained purple.

The first recipe I am going to share with you was rather an experiment, and I did not follow an ingredients list, I just cooked on instinct – which is the way I prefer to cook the majority of the time.

Blackberry Coulis

Ingredients:

  Frozen blackberries, or use fresh if you don't have any frozen
  Elderflower cordial
  Caster Sugar

Blackberries freeze really well, and keep for a fair while too. We still had some blackberries in the freezer from last year's haul and, as we had picked some new berries this year (and freezer space was becoming an issue), I decided to use up what was left of last year's bounty and make something new with them – which is where the idea for the coulis come from.

I wanted to make a coulis as I thought it could be used for a number of things. I primarily made it to drizzle over ice cream for a decadent desert, but also thought that the coulis could be used as a base for a cocktail – however, we ate so much of it that we had none left to try this idea.

Here's what to do... place the contents of two containers of frozen blackberries (still frozen) into a saucepan and slowly bring it to the boil. Add caster sugar to taste and a generous glug of elderflower cordial.

 

Some ingredients for a blackberry coulis Some ingredients for a blackberry coulis
Some ingredients for a blackberry coulis

As soon as it starts to boil reduce the heat, keeping the coulis simmering on a low to medium heat for a further 10-15 minutes.

 Frozen blackberries in the saucepanFrozen blackberries in the saucepan

Turn off the heat, then pass the mixture (a small portion at a time) through a sieve into a bowl, so the mixture is smooth, as you will have removed all the pulp and pips. This is quite time-consuming, but is worth it in the end.

Thereafter, you will be left with a juicy pulp, which still has lots of flavour and is a shame to waste. So, replace this pulp in the saucepan. Using a hand-held liquidizer, break the pulp down into a relatively smooth paste. Then pass this paste through the sieve once again, so the coulis is now thickened by the smooth blackberry pulp.

 Pass the blackberry pulp through a seivePass the blackberry pulp through a seive, a little at a time

 

The remaining seeds/skins should be thrown away; into the kitchen waste re-cycling bin, of course.

Once cooled close to room temperature, the coulis is delicious poured over ice cream, and could be used as the base for a blackberry cocktail or drizzled over other deserts.

 Blackberry coulisBlackberry coulis
(note the colour the wooden spoon turned.
Plastic shouldn't stain as badly)
  

It could also be used to make a blackberry fool (mousse), or blackberry ice cream, or used for savoury sauces with venison or lamb. The choice really is yours.

If the coulis is kept refrigerated it will last for about four days without spoiling.

I say four days... we had eaten it all by then! It may well last longer. Let us know if it does for you, otherwise, we'll never find out for sure.

Enjoy!

 

Blackberry Mille-feuille

Ingredients:

  1 box of ready rolled sweet puff pastry (available from major supermarkets, around £1.00-£1.50 per pack)
  Selection of large blackberries
  Homemade blackberry coulis (above)
  1 ex-large (500 ml) pot of double cream - suitable for whipping
  1 pack of mascapone
  Vanilla essence
  Icing sugar (in a shaker)

Some of the huge blackberries we foraged recently were just too beautiful to simply be frozen, hidden away inside a cake or reduced into a coulis, so I decided to come up with a recipe which celebrates how beautiful this fruit can be, and also do something that is both relatively simple and quick to create, and stunning to look at. So here is my recipe for blackberry mille-feuille.

Purchase a pack of sweet puff pastry (I use the Jus Rol range, available from larger supermarkets). Cut the sheet into four quarters and place at the bottom of a well-greased tray/pan and cook as per the cooking instructions.

 Blackberry mille-feuille

Whilst waiting for the pastry to cook, whip the double cream until it is forming stiff peaks. Then divide into two bowls.

Traditionally, the pastry sheets are weighted down so they do not rise too much. But I prefer to cook them unweighted, so the desert is higher and more dramatic. It's not quite as easy to eat, but hey, it looks amazing when served to guests.

To the first bowl of whipped double cream, add three to four desert spoons of the blackberry coulis, turning the cream a light to mid lilac colour.

Desert 2

To the second bowl of whipped double cream, add some vanilla essence (to taste).

When the pastry pieces have cooled to room temperature, place one of the pastry pieces on to your serving dish. Then, add a layer of the purple double cream. Then add a selection of the blackberries. Then add a layer of the plain double cream and another layer of blackberries and then a final layer of the purple cream, and then add the last remaninig pastry piece.

The four pastry pieces will give you two, very large individual deserts. Or you could cut the pastry into two large pieces and make one large mille-feuille, to serve more people in smaller portions.

Sprinkle with icing sugar, and serve with a selection of blackberries to the side and some of the coulis (if there is any left over).

Enjoy!

Claire Meredith, Head Chef at Tŵr Cymru Culture Towers, September 2016

Also from the Head Chef at Tŵr Cymru Culture Towers:

     

Aubergine roses, June 2016
Salmon and king prawn lasagne, March 2016

Pesto, pistachio and puff pastry tart, September 2014
Roasted fennel and Welsh goat's cheese salad, September 2014
Blackberry Napoleon desert, September 2014
Pomme dauphinoise (made easy)
, September 2014
      Salmon and Thai fishcakes, June 2014
Artisan rice pudding with blackberry compote, March 2014

Coquille Saint-Jacques, March 2014
Salmon teriyaki with pumpkin seed crust, March 2014
Vegetable spring rolls, December 2013
Broad bean, wasabi and crème fraîche pâté, September 2013
Salmon ramen, September 2013
Carmarthen Canapés Caerfyrddin, June 2013
Apple and elderflower crumble, March 2013
Smoked salmon puff pastry parcels,
March 2013
The only Welsh cakes recipe you'll ever need, June 2012
Roast butternut squash, garlic and sweet chilli soup, March 2012

Cauliflower, roasted onion and Welsh cheddar soup, March 2012
Tiramisu, March 2012
Smoked mackerel and horseradish pâté with hot brown seeded-rolls, September 2011
Almond, cherry & Bourbon tart, September 2011
Chic party food ideas 3, June 2011
Smoked mackerel and horseradish pâté with hot brown seeded-rolls, September 2011
Almond, cherry & Bourbon tart, September 2011
Chic party food ideas 2, June 2011
The cupcake revolution, February 2011
Chic party food ideas, February 2011
Stylish party canapes, September 2009

 

cylchgrawn Cymru Culture magazine
Published by/Cyhoeddwyd gan:
Caregos Cyf., 2016

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