As September approached this year, I got quite excited about the prospect of going blackberry picking. Memories of lovely autumn walks from my childhood and the satisfaction of seeing the blackberries we’d gathered transformed into a delicious dessert made me keen to start foraging with my own little ones.
On our first attempt, although we had fun scrabbling around in the bushes, by the time we headed home, we’d either scoffed or dropped all of the blackberries we’d picked. The second excursion, which involved just me by the side of a busy road on a blustery Sunday morning, wasn’t quite so enjoyable, but it was at least fruitful.
Rather than a traditional crumble or pie, I decided to use my harvest to make this pretty panna cotta. Sweet and creamy with the distinctive flavour of vanilla, this is a real crowd-pleaser. The subtle blackberry coulis adds the finishing touch and pairs perfectly with the roasted hazelnuts in the crumbly, buttery shortbread.
Although this has three components, each one is super-easy to make and can be prepared up to a day in advance. This makes it ideal for when you’re having people over but don’t want to miss all the fun as you slave away in the kitchen.
If you’re thinking it’s too late to pick your own blackberries, never fear. The season isn’t quite over yet, so if you haven’t already got a freezer stash, now’s the time to head out and gather some of the little purple beauties for yourself.