Saturday, 6 October 2012


Brambles feature heavily in my childhood memories as I used to go brambling with my mum and in school holidays with my Nan. We used to walk along the tow paths filling up a motley crew of jars, Tupperware boxes and plastic bags with the inky berries to take home for my Mum's crumbles or my Nan's blackberry wine. I'm going through a bramble phase at the moment as they are more tasty than the blackberries in the supermarket, they're in season, fun to pick and free - always useful in a recession! Today I decided I wanted them to go with pancakes as an Autumn alternative to summery blueberry pancakes. Dan named them Bramcakes and the name has stuck. Why not go for a wander and pick some this weekend and give them a try?

1) I rinsed and drained the brambles then drizzled a teaspoonful of maple syrup over them and swirled the berries around the bowl to cover them in the amber liquid.

2) I lightly bruised the berries a little to encourage them to give up their beautiful claret juices.

3) Once the pancake batter had been ladled into the pan, I waited for 'pinprick' dots to appear on the top side and then used a teaspoon to drop some of the berries and their juices on to the uncooked side.

4) The pancakes were then flipped over to get burnished and golden on the other side. The brambles bleed their juices into the pancakes and lend a lovely jammy taste to their fluffy interiors. Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche or vanilla ice cream and a shake of cinnamon if you like. 

If I'm brutally honest, these pancakes are not as pretty as imagined they would look but this could be rectified by making a simple cooked sauce out of the brambles. You could just tumble the brambles into a small, heavy bottomed saucepan, drizzle over a glossy slick of maple syrup and swirl the two around over a low heat until the berries burst and create a syrupy Vimto hued sauce. Mmmmmmmm....

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