September is probably my favourite month of the year and not just because it is when my birthday falls. It’s the beginning of the new school year, a time when many people decide to take courses, a time to buy a new notebook and write out a plan. The days are still bright and it is a time of abundant harvest. Hedgerows are heaving now and it’s the last chance to forage and gather juicy, ripe blackberries.
For a number of years my husband has become a seasonal blackberry and apple jam maker. The berries are picked by his Uncle Paddy and stored for collection by his mother Kitty. He called to her a couple of days ago and indulged in her delicious blackberry pie before collecting his blackberries for jam making.
Blackberries are rinsed and joined by chopped up cooking apple and caster sugar in a large saucepan where they simmer and bubble together merrily until he decides it is time. Jars of every shape and size are gathered and sterilized and he then proudly dispenses his jam. How lovely to see these richly filled jars lined up and glistening like the deepest jewels.
The jam will be used as a straightforward jam of course but we will also use it bulked up with more apple to make pies and crumbles. I couldn’t wait to test it out and today I used it to make this deliciously moist Blackberry & Apple Loaf Cake. It cuts beautifully and is perfect with a cup of tea… and while you’re waiting for the tea to brew you could vote for Gimme The Recipe to reach to Irish Blog Awards 2015 Finals – go on, go on, go on, go on, go on.
The vibrancy of the mixture is so beautiful it’s almost a shame to cook it.
I hope your September is going well for you and that you’ll get to enjoy all that Autumn’s harvests have to offer.
Blackberry & Apple Loaf Cake
You will need:
75g unsalted butter plus extra to grease loaf tin
125g caster sugar
250g self-raising flour
1 jar (350g approx.) thick-set blackberry & apple jam
Preheat a fan oven to 180C
Grease a loaf tin with butter and line the base with a long piece of baking paper.
Cream together the butter and caster sugar with an electric mixer.
Then beat in half the beaten egg and half the flour followed by the remaining egg and flour.
The mixture is quite heavy and thick so use a wooden spoon to stir in the blackberry & apple jam until evenly distributed.
Pour the mixture into the loaf tin and bake in the hot oven for 40 minutes.
Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes and to cool fully (if you can wait) until cutting as it will cut better.
‘Til next time, Sheila.