While we may still be basking in wonderfully warm and sunny late August days, Autumn is nevertheless slowly a-creeping up on us. The nights are noticeably cooler, and the morning air is distinctly fresher. Dew has started to appear on the lawns, and the hedgerows are delicately decorated with gossamer-fine spiders’ webs.
Around my village, the local farmers have been busy with their combines, baling up, ready for the winter months ahead. At home, in my garden, I’ve been clearing away the last of the summer crops, and sowing seeds for autumn and winter harvesting. There’s certainly plenty to do.
But one of the most pleasing sights of all for me at this time of year is blackberry-dotted brambles. And this year, the berries are bigger and more plentiful than I can ever remember – Nature’s pay-off for the last couple of years of particularly difficult weather conditions we’ve had, perhaps.
There’s plenty for jam, ketchup, crumbles, pies, and flavoured vodka and gin. But it seems a little early for those yet. I wanted to make something a bit lighter, and more in keeping with the prolonged sunshine that we’re still enjoying. And I found just what I was after with this recipe, adapting it to make a light and fragrant blackberry and almond torte-like cake.
The only thing I would change further next time would be to add more blackberries. When the blackberries are as good as they are this year, a more luxurious fruit layer is most definitely called for. Serve warm or cold, with lots of cream.