Picking blackberries

So yesterday Mr. QuiltedPig and I set off with a good friend to pick blackberries. We had been to the same farm previously to pick sand plums, and we were very pleased with the 22 pounds we were able to pick in a morning.

Blackberries are a different story. If you have ever wondered why blackberries are so expensive, I have some information for you. The bowl above is approximately a quart. It weighs 1.28 pounds. It took two people and hour and a half in thorns and brambles to pick them.

After all the thorns we could stand, we decided to head back home where I pondered what I was going to do with that tiny little dab of fruit. There would be no jellies or wine in the future for just four cups of berries, but they were still beautiful and fresh.

One of our neighbors suggested a cobbler. Normally I don't make cobblers because I despise rolling out pie crust, but as the day went by, and I didn't have any better ideas, I started thinking of how I could make it work without being forced to roll out dough.

I decided that sugar cookie dough could form the base for a simple tart and that I would cook it in a cast iron skillet because my original intention was to cook it on the grill so I wouldn't have to heat up the oven (and the house). I got out my copy of The Best Recipe and got started on the Rolled Butter Cookies recipe. Meanwhile, I poured about a half cup of sugar and a tablespoon of lemon juice on the berries, stirred, and put them in the fridge to marinate.

After waiting the hour the dough recipe requires, I patted half of it into the bottom of my 10-inch skillet and poured the berries on top.

The cookie recipe calls for 6-8 minutes at 375°, but I knew that wasn't going to work with my thicker, wider dough (and berries!). I went with 350° for 10 minutes. At that point, it was clear the dough wasn't cooked, so I went with two more 5-minute increments, until the crust was starting to brown. I gave it about a 10 minute rest to set up the juice and for the dough in the bottom to keep cooking in the cast iron before I cut it into wedges for serving.

You can see the juice seeping over by the right side of the picture above. It made a thick sweet-tart syrup that was delicious. My apologies for being more of a process tester than a recipe writer. I totally enjoy taking the feel of a recipe and translating it to the ingredients I have on hand, and I think this same idea would work for just about any fruit, with small modifications like adding cinnamon or vanilla.

What other uses are there for just a dab of the delicious fresh fruit that is coming in to season right now?

P.S. The peach wine I told you about a few days ago has been happily bubbling away ever since. A good sign!