Blackberry Recipes

Posted by Dan Bennett on

Blackberries have been early this year. Appearing in our hedgerows from June onwards, they are ready to harvest anytime between August to October. Heralding the change of the seasons from the glut of fresh summer strawberries and raspberries, the erstwhile blackberry is to these frivolous fruits like an older brother - darker, serious and infinitely more interesting.

If you are lucky enough to have access to a large amount of blackberries you can freeze them - open freeze on a tray, initially, then place in a sealed bag. You can also make a puree: put the blackberries in a food processor and add sugar to taste (usually about 10% sugar to the weight of the fruit but the acidity will be different every time). Blend this and pass through a sieve. You can freeze this or use it as a sauce, or turn it through a cheesecake, eton mess or a fool. You could also ripple it through churned vanilla ice cream before freezing.

Perhaps the best way to enjoy this free and foraged bounty is to stuff them into your mouth, greedily, straight from the stems, allowing the softer fruits to burst and stain your fingers. For those a little more forward-looking we recommend capturing the flavour of this wonderful fruit in a preserve. For us, though we are big fans of jam, it has to be a jelly. The crystal clear purple quiver of a just set blackberry jelly is a grand thing. And there is nothing better to beat the winter blues than a large spreading of it on toasted, buttered sourdough. Or you can use it, as we do, as a filling for macarons, or in sponge cakes, jam tarts - whatever you like. It makes a particularly good filling for a twist on the classic bakewell slice.

Blackberry Jelly


You will need:
A preserving pan or large saucepan
An accurate thermometer
Sterilised jam jars
A jam funnel
Wax paper discs
A small saucer

As with any jam or jelly recipe ensure all your equipment is spotlessly clean and your jars are sterilised.

Put the saucer in the freezer. Place your blackberries in a bowl of water and leave for a few minutes and then rinse thoroughly. Place in the preserving pan and just cover with water. Boil and then simmer gently for around 20 minutes until soft. Strain through a jelly bag or a large muslin-lined colander overnight. Do not press the fruit or disturb at this point otherwise your jelly may become cloudy. The next day remove and discard the fruit and measure the juice into a clean pan. Add 350g sugar and 100g jam sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice per 575ml of juice and stir over a low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil and boil hard until the temperature reads 105 degrees on the thermometer.

We find it best to also do the ‘wrinkle test’ to ensure the jelly has the perfect set - once the jelly hits 105 degrees remove your saucer from the freezer and place a small amount of jam onto it. Leave for one minute then push your finger through. The jelly should wrinkle.

 

If it doesn’t, boil hard for a minute and repeat the process. Pour into jars with the jam funnel on and place a wax disc on top. This will stop any steam forming condensation. Place the lids on while the jam is hot.


Pickled Blackberries



This is more a suggestion than a recipe. You could add any herbs or spices you think will work. These simple pickled blackberries are delicious as part of a cheeseboard or served with duck or game.

Blackberries
Bay leaf
Rosemary
200g red wine
200g water
2 tsp salt
50g sugar
4 allspice berries, crushed
1 cardamom pod, crushed
8 white peppercorns, crushed


Pack your blackberries into a sterilised jar. Add a small bay leaf and a sprig of rosemary. Boil the rest of the ingredients for 5 minutes and leave to infuse for half an hour. Strain over the blackberries and seal. Leave for a week or two for the flavour to develop.

We love the flavour of Blackberries at T+B and one of our most popular products are our Blackberry Macarons. We make a delicious, silky-smooth milk chocolate ganache and then pipe that wonderful blackberry jelly in the middle to make a stunning flavour combination. 

Available from our Facebook Store or at www.taylorandbennett.co.uk  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read more →

The Great Taste Awards 2017

Posted by Dan Bennett on

Last week we were waiting patiently for the results of The Great Taste Awards. For those of you who don’t know, these awards are held annually and have been described as both the ‘Oscars of the food world’ and the ‘epicurean equivalent of the Booker prize’. Serious stuff, then. Over 500 judges tasted and marked 12,366 food and drink products at 62 judging days throughout March to July. Of these only 35% received an award which gives an indication of the extremely high standards. The awards are organised by The Guild of Fine Food who are synonymous with championing artisan food producers across the UK.

When the results came in we were absolutely delighted when both the products we entered won a gold star. We won a star for our Hazelnut Praline Macarons and for our Parkin Cinder Toffee. What made the star for our Parkin Cinder Toffee even more special is that the results came out on Yorkshire Day and we can’t think of a more Yorkshire flavour than Parkin!!!

Hazelnut Praline Macarons



We hand-pipe the macaron shells and top them with roasted, nibbed hazelnuts before baking. The filling is made from a combination of beautiful, caramelised hazelnuts and a silky smooth chocolate ganache. It is a classic flavour combination that we feel is hard to beat.

Here is what the judges had to say about our macarons:

“These macarons melt in the mouth. There is a lovely flavour of hazelnut coming through”

“The texture of the macaron and ganache are well nigh perfect”

“The intensity of the hazelnut is a real wow - and the level of filling is just right”

Parkin Cinder Toffee


This cinder toffee holds a special place in our hearts for a number of reasons. First of all the flavour is unmistakably Yorkshire and makes us long for our childhood days huddled round the fire on Bonfire night. Also, it has been a real labour of love. Adding the different treacles and spices altered the chemical structure of the traditional cinder toffee and getting the texture perfect has been a very long process over a number of years. Dan first thought of the idea when he was at college working on a chocolate competition. There were many, many disasters and disappointments in getting the flavour and texture right so we are really pleased to have some recognition for this product.

Here are the judges’ comments about our Parkin Cinder Toffee:

“Glossy pieces of cinder toffee. Clear flavours of treacle and ginger shine through, well balanced, neither overwhelms”

“Pleasing warmth from the ginger with satisfying rich treacle notes. Definitely tastes like Parkin!”

“Fun, crunchy, but a real grown up toffee”

If you’d like to try either of our winning products you can purchase through our website www.taylorandbennett.co.uk or our Facebook page.

Read more →

Recipe - Chocolate Mille Feuille, Pastry Cream and more

Posted by Dan Bennett on

What is not to love about a mille feuille? It has crisp, flaky, caramelised pastry with fresh fruit and cream. Simple, elegant and easy to prepare. Here is a recipe for a chocolate mille feuille which is delicate and indulgent.

 


Chocolate Mille Feuille

You will need:
Baking sheets, silicone paper, Piping bags, 10mm piping nozzle


Makes 8


If you are feeling adventurous you can make your own puff pastry but a good quality, all-butter bought pastry is fine.
Cut a 500g block of puff pastry in two and roll both pieces to rectangles with a 2mm thickness. Sprinkle a small amount of sugar on top of each. Dock each sheet of pastry all over with a fork to allow steam to escape when baking. Take a baking sheet lined with silicone paper, place the sheet of pastry on top then cover with more silicone paper and another baking sheet on top. Repeat this with the second sheet of pastry. Press down and bake at 180c for 12 minutes. Remove the top baking sheets and paper and allow the pastry to cook until a lovely caramelised brown colour and the pastry is cooked through on the bottom, about 10 minutes more. Move to a rack and cool. Using a long, serrated knife cut the pastry into 9.5cm x 4cm rectangles. Set aside. If doing this in advance the pastry can be stored in an airtight container.


Chocolate Pastry Cream


60g Egg Yolk (approx 3 yolks)
40g Caster Sugar
14g Cornflour
½ vanilla pod, seeds scraped
100g Double Cream
100g Full Fat Milk
45g Butter, cubed and at room temperature
90g Dark Chocolate (we used Taylor + Bennett 64% Madagascan)


Whisk the egg yolk, sugar and cornflour together in a large bowl. Heat the cream, milk and vanilla seeds until just boiling. Pour a third of the hot cream mix onto the egg mix and whisk well. Add the rest of the cream and mix again. Return to the pan over a medium-high heat and whisk continuously for at least a minute until the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat and leave for a minute to cool slightly. Strain the mix onto the chocolate and whisk together until completely amalgamated and then whisk in the cubes of butter one at a time until the pastry cream is thick, shiny and glossy. Cover with cling film and store in the fridge until needed


Assembly:
Whisk the cool pastry cream to loosen and place in a piping bag fitted with a 1mm round piping nozzle. Take four rectangles of pastry. Pipe two rows of five dots of pastry cream on three of the pastry slices and stack on top of eachother, finishing with the fourth slice on top. Serve immediately.


You could also alternate the pastry cream with soft fruit such as raspberries or blackberries. Or you could flavour the chocolate pastry cream by infusing the milk and cream before making the custard. You could try coffee, orange zest, mint, teas - anything you like.


A classic mille feuille is made using standard pastry cream. However, once you have mastered the basic recipe it is easy to make a few variations. Here are some recipes for you to try. Any combination of any of these creams and seasonal fruit will work well in a mille feuille.

Pastry Cream
60g Egg Yolk (approx 3 yolks)
40g Caster Sugar
14g Cornflour
1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped
100g Double Cream
100g Full Fat Milk
45g Butter, cubed and at room temperature


Follow the recipe above but simply omit the chocolate.


Diplomat Cream
A beautifully light extension of pastry cream
Make the Pastry Cream recipe above. Whisk 150g of whipping cream to medium peaks then refridgerate. Fold the cold cream into the pastry cream in two stages stopping as soon as they are incorporated. Use immediately


Mousseline Cream
A richer version of pastry cream.
Make the Pastry Cream recipe above. Whisk 50g of soft butter until very light. Whisk this into the pastry cream until incorporated.

Read more →

The Broker Network Annual Conference - Another happy client!

Posted by James Taylor on

We were introduced to "The Broker Network" at Yorkshire Dales food and drink festival, they took a particular interest in our colourful Macarons. After their visit to the food festival it became apparent that our T&B Macarons were the team's firm favourite as a gift for attendees of this years Conference. We were lucky enough to be invited to produce and supply 540 Macarons, packaged in 6's as our T&B collection gift boxes. We hand delivered them to the Mondrian Hotel in London, here's what the client had to say:

"I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for all of the hard work put in by you and your team for our recent event in London. Your help really was appreciated, and you played a huge part in making the National Conference a success. We've had some fantastic feedback about your delicious Macarons and they're already becoming a firm favourite in the office! Thanks again for all your help throughout this process, you've gone above and beyond and we'll be happy to recommend your services."

Nikki Lee, Events Manager

Read more →

The taste of summer - sorbets and cocktails

Posted by Dan Bennett on

As I write the sun is beating down on one of those most rare occasions – a weekend of glorious weather. A perfect time to treat yourself to one of the true pleasures of summer – a spoonful or two of refreshing sorbet. Chocolate (of course), Strawberry? Perhaps. But in the fullest of the heat I want something that is both sharp and sweet – something to cool and excite. Passion fruit is ideal. Also, fresh raspberries have good acidity. But at this time of year, for me, it can only be rhubarb. I’ve had rhubarb every week since it was ready to harvest – poached with yoghurt for breakfast, in parfaits, rhubarb curd, crumbles and ganache. A more robust plant you would struggle to find – pop it in the garden and, once established, you’ll be amazed at how much it yields and how versatile an ingredient it is.

The harvesting for outdoor rhubarb is just coming to an end and this coincides with the beginning of my favourite summer herb – lemon verbena. Now in full leaf the beautifully shaped leaves and architectural structure are enough to grace any garden. But if you brush your finger along the thin branches and rub the leaves you get the most intense lemon sherbet scent. This gorgeous herb can be used to make ice cream, panna cotta, sorbet, syrup, fools and encapsulates the flavour of summer.

So here is my recipe for rhubarb and lemon verbena sorbet and an extremely easy summer cocktail. The sorbet is easy to make but it does need to steep for 12 hours so allow time for that. I have used rhubarb liqueur but if you cannot find it you can replace it with limoncello or lemon vodka. You could leave it out altogether but the alcohol helps with the texture of the sorbet

Rhubarb and Lemon Verbena Sorbet

1300g rhubarb, washed and finely diced

130g caster sugar

2 tbsp rhubarb liqueur

Large handful of lemon verbena leaves, chopped

T+B Sea Salt Cinder Toffee – to garnish

 

Mix everything in a large bowl and allow to steep in the fridge for at least 12 hours. Blend in batches and pass each batch through a sieve squeezing as much of the juice out as possible. Leave to stand for an hour or two and skim off the top before churning in an ice cream maker. Serve on bed of crushed cinder toffee.

 

 

Lemon Verbena Gin Gimlet

 

For the lemon verbena syrup:

50g caster sugar

50ml water

Handful of lemon verbena leaves, chopped

 

Bring the sugar and water to a boil and boil for 2 mins, add the lemon verbena and allow to infuse for an hour before straining.

 

For the Gin Gimlet:

60ml Gin (we use Leeds Gin)

10ml lime juice

15ml lemon verbena syrup (above)

 

Pour the ingredients over ice in a cocktail shaker, stir and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with lemon verbena leaves.

 

 

 

 

 

Read more →