Whenever there are plenty of blackberries around, so are there plenty of recipes in magazines and on TV. This is one of mine, and my favourite; it's easy to make, doesn't require the use of every one of your utensils, can be cut into your most useful serving size, and is quite a crowd pleaser. It's similar to Apple and Cinnamon Traybake, recipe for which was posted a couple of years ago.
The most time-consuming part of this, for me, is the obsessive examining of every single berry several times, to make sure that none of those tiny wormy things is hanging around. We have berries in the garden and don't use chemicals, so very occasionally ..... Therefore the berries are checked, swished around in a bowl of water for a bit, drained, dried, examined again then either passed fit for duty or, if not in great nick, tipped into the wormery.
This recipe makes about 30 smallish squares, and takes a little under an hour from start to out-of-the-oven - apart, that is, from blackberry inspection.
Prepare in advance a parchment-lined square or rectangular cake tin about 4-5cm deep; I use one 24x18cm, which is roughly equal to 21cm square.
The oven should be at 180C, shelf at middle height.
250g caster sugar
3 tsp vanilla extract
270g self-raising flour
75g demerara sugar (optional)
1 Put the butter in a large microwave-safe bowl and microwave 20 secs or until softened
but not melted. (If no microwave, just leave to get to room temp.)
2 Add the caster sugar, eggs and vanilla and whisk until smooth.
3 Tip in the flour and the berries, and mix gently with a spoon (to avoid breaking the
berries) until no flour is left visible.
4 Pile the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth over the top. Sprinkle the demerara
sugar evenly over.
5 Bake for about 35 mins until golden and until a skewer poked diagonally through the
centre comes out clean. The top should also spring back if lightly pressed down.
6 Cool for 10mins or so in the tin, then cut into pieces with a very sharp knife as
required. (I like approx 4x3cm. Then you can eat two at a time without feeling guilty.)
Instead of blackberries, raspberries could be used, or gooseberries softened a little in a pan with a few drops of water. Haven't tried it with dried cranberries, but will do, perhaps soaking them in boiling water for a few minutes then draining and drying well.
The squares can be kept in a tin, in the fridge if more than a few days, and they should freeze well.
Nice for picnics!