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Recipe: Star anise and blackberry clafoutis

Blackberry clafoutis  by Charlotte Smith-Jarvis.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Blackberry clafoutis by Charlotte Smith-Jarvis. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

Our easy, seasonal pud with a twist is the ulimate in comfort food.

I was beside myself recently when dad told me he’s stopped growing blackberries on the allotment. They’re a fruit I usually pick in late summer with gay abandon, and an air of smugness that I don’t have to fork out a few quid for a handful of the berries at the supermarket.

He is, however, still growing several rows of raspberries – which I’m allergic to. Thanks dad!

If I’m to make the most of one of the season’s most delectable fruits, I now have to join the masses and participate in a bit of foraging. Now, I know people have been foraging for donkey’s years, but I do always worry about dog wee (or any other animal’s wee for that matter) being on my pickings. And I’d never pluck from the side of the road. What about all those fumes?

The ideal spot, I think, is somewhere off the beaten track, not beside a road, and to pick from high up – anywhere that couldn’t possibly be used as a urinal. Dad says to take a broom handle with to push aside the thorny brambles in hard to reach areas. Not sure I’ll be following his advice - the kids would only steal it off me and fight each other.

With my first crop of blackberries this year I made a dessert I usually only put together with cherries or tiny plums. Clafoutis.

It sounds posh doesn’t it? But I’d describe this dessert, from France’s Limousin region, as the love child of a Yorkshire pudding and a queen of puddings. The top rises and puffs above the fruit proudly, then relaxes back, encircling the fruit with a soft, cloud-like custard and almost spongy top.

Infused with mystical star anise, which is fantastic with blackberries, cherries and plums, the pudding is one of the easiest you could ever make, and takes less time to prepare than a crumble or a pie. Give it a go this weekend.

Blackberry and star anise clafoutis

(serves 4-6)

Ingredients

4 large eggs, 90g caster sugar, 75g local plain flour, 220ml cream, 220ml milk, 1 punnet blackberries, 1 small star anise finely crushed, icing sugar to dust

Method

Preheat the oven to 200C. Butter a 23cm round dish.

Place the eggs, sugar, flour, cream, milk and crushed star anise in a food processor and blend until smooth.

Scatter a punnet (about 350-400g) washed blackberries into the dish and pour over the batter.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until risen and golden

Dust with icing sugar and serve with cool whipped cream.

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