You don’t get anything for free these days, aside from a bowl of blackberries and this is just once a year and not for very long. There’s no such thing as a free lunch so when it comes to blackberry season I like to get involved! I was far too happy to see there’s several bushes along a pathway near our flat which have fruited early this year. The thing is there’s lots of foot traffic down this path and these poor blackberries have been picked on a lot. I’ve noticed certain foragers getting a little territorial with thriving bushes and if it’s close to home it’s theirs, ready for the pie dish. I should know, I use to frequent the same old bush in anticipation that nobody has touched my blackberries!
Of course it’s always the easiest most accessible sections of the bush that are barren. The parts that are out of reach and buried in bramble are usually bursting with plump, dark purple, juicy, sweet, fizz on the tongue berries. These are the ones I go for, I like a challenge. Russ and I always joke that we should dress up in protective clothing in order to avoid the tangly stinging nettles and brambles intertwined with the blackberry bushes. Maybe we should mark out our territory with some tape or a few hazard cones….just kidding! I can avoid these scrapes and stings by going to the market instead but it’s way more fun to pick your own, eating a few along the way with purple stained fingers.
I remember blackberries being most fruitful at the end of the summer holidays and as kids me and the sister always frequented ‘our’ bush with the motivation of a homemade pie or crumble for tea, the latter was by far my favourite. We were always smugly happy to be the first ones there, filling our tupperware to the brim!. My sister always used to get a lecture (from me!) on picking protocol: ‘you can tell which berries are ripe and ready, they come off easily when given a slight pull, OK?’. Before returning home we scanned for bushes close to ripening for our next visit. I still do this and have already made a mental note of the abundant close to ripe reddish fruit that I’ll be going back for next week. I think I love blackberry picking just as much as the eating! Im definitely feeling that forager/hunter gatherer vibe!!
I can’t be bothered with traditional apple pie though. It’s stodgy, heartburn inducing and is usually very high in sugar and since I’ve weened myself off the stuff I find most ‘sweet’ treats these days just a bit too sweet. Anyway, I decided it was high time I made an Apple Charlotte (well it is my name- Charlotte not Apple!) but then I realised I didn’t have enough bread and of course I have everything coconut so I settled on an apple sponge bake type thing. I loved apple spongey cake stuff as a kid so thought a similar dish with a twist made sense. Apples are easily one of my favourite fruits and I adore the blackberry combo for the flavour but also the colour the two create when stewed. I had a crack at coconut sponge mix and I have to admit when I first put it together it looked a bit lumpy so I wore myself out beating it over and over. I stopped when I realised the specky lumps were desiccated coconut, doh. Anyway, I kept adding milk and water until the mixture had the consistency of a classic sponge mix ready for spreading onto the apple and blackberry in a glass dish. Of course, it doesn’t need to be glass but the colours of the fruit are amazing and it’s nice to see. I ended up baking this for 40 minutes and mid way through was a tad dubious about it working out but by the end the sponge had indeed set with a springy touch. After a little cooling (I could only manage 10 minutes due coconut aroma induced hunger!) I cut a slice and was quite smug when it slipped out beautifully. A dollop of greek yoghurt and a fork later I ate this on the patio steps in my own apple, blackberry, coconut heaven. Super excited about taste testing on Russ later. Sometimes you need to check you’re not delusional in thinking your baking is utterly delicious when in fact it isn’t all that good!
Of course this is good for you. Check out the ingredients list, it’s also low in carbs and sugar making it a much better choice than standard apple sponge/pies. This beats any apple dessert I’ve had before and I’ll be making it again soon, perhaps with pear and blueberry next time.
Apple, blackberry & coconut bake
2 cups apples
1 1/2 cups blackberries
2 tablespoons stevia
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup dessicated coconut
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
vanilla pod, deseeded
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup of water
1. Pre -heat oven to 180 ºC. Simmer apples, blackberries, cinnamon & 1 tablespoon of the stevia in a pan with 2 tablespoons of water until softened – about 10 minutes. Add more water if the fruit begins to dry out.
2. Beat the remaining ingredients to form a sponge like batter, adding the water carefully to prevent an overly thin the mixture.
3. Transfer fruit to a glass baking dish. Spread the coconut batter over the top ensuring an even spread. Bake for 40 minutes until firm to the touch with a slight spring.
Note: Coconut is very absorbent & some brands differ. As such, take care when adding the milk & liquid as you may need slightly less or more according to the coconut flour brand.