Friday, October 30, 2009

Bramleys and Blackberries

Bramley apples are akin to Granny Smith in that they are a popular cooking apple. Here in Britain it is their favourite cooking apple, I would say. They are quite sour to eat raw. An easy thing to do with a cooking apple when they are in season is to make apple butter. Besides a spread for breakfast toast; or on a scone, it can be used in all kinds of wonderful autumn dishes, such as the strudel below. A brief history of Bramley apples, as worded by another website:

"The first Bramley tree grew from pips planted by Mary Ann Brailsford when she was a young girl in her garden in Southwell, Nottinghamshire, UK in 1809. The tree in the garden was later included in the purchase of the cottage by a local butcher, Matthew Bramley in 1846. In 1856, a local nurseryman, Henry Merryweather asked if he could take cuttings from the tree and start to sell the apples. Bramley agreed but insisted that the apples should bear his name. On 31st October 1862 the first recorded sale of a Bramley occured in Messrs. Merryweathers books. He sold "three Bramley apples for 2/- to Mr Geo Cooper of Upton Hall". On 6th December 1876 the Bramley was highly commended at the Royal Horticultural Society's Fruit commitee exhibition. In 1900 the original tree got knocked down during violent storms, however the tree somehow survived and is still bearing fruit 200 years later. It is now the most important cooking apple in England & Wales, with 21.68 km², 95% of total culinary apple orchards in 2007. The Bramley is almost exclusively a British variety; however it is also grown by a few United States farms, and can be found in Canada."

I was sooo inspired by Valentine Warner's segments featured on Saturday Kitchen. His 'What To Eat Now' show and books present the best seasonal food going at the moment in Britain! One of the shows had blackberries and one of the recipes was:

100 ml whipping cream
100 grams blackberries
2 ready-made meringues (YOU can make them ahead)
2 tbsp. cater sugar
blackberry coulis with a few dashes of whiskey

Whip cream with the sugar until slightly firm. Crumble the meringues in to the cream. Quickle fold in blackberries. Layer the cream/berry mixture with coulis. Serve!

Eton Mess is a traditional English dessert, served annually at Eton College's cricket match. Usually this dessert is made with strawberries.

I decided to make a strudel with both of the said fruits. The filling is lemon and honey chevre' and Bramley apple. The strudel is garnished with Blackberries, Blackberry coulis and Lemon honey.

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