My day started with take out coffee and a long dog walk. After that I found myself at home with little to do and no real desire to leave the house in what is weirdly warm but incredibly dull weather. As others tucked into roast dinners, I decided to put my efforts into making something simple and tasty for dessert. This was partly to take my mind off Hurricane Ophelia, which is fast approaching Ireland - yes Ireland, I cannot believe I'm saying that - and partly because I had a large punnet of delicious late season Irish blackberries that needed using, quick smart.
For a brief moment, I contemplated making a blackberry pie - doesn't it just seem like the thing to make when presented with fresh blackberries?! Second thoughts followed. The last time I attempted to made a fruit pie, it went all kinds of wrong and I'm still cringing at the soggy base. With blackberry pie off the agenda, I went back to basics.
I had lunch in Etto, Merrion Row in Dublin last week and I shared a simple prune and mascarpone dessert. It was simple and delicious. This is the type of dessert I adore, one where sugar doesn't become the dominant ingredient. My preference is for simple desserts, where each ingredient holds onto its flavour and refuses to be overpowered by sweetness. I also adore savoury notes in desserts and tasted the most delicious goats cheese ice-cream recently. Not brave enough to make goat cheese ice-cream just yet and inspired by my Etto experience, I settled for a maple cream cheese element for today's dessert. I added a pecan and oat crumb because I'm watching Masterchef Australia at the moment and the contestants add a crumb of some description to pretty much every dessert they make. I've been influenced.
Keep scrolling for the recipe for my Blackberries with Maple Cream Cheese & Pecan Oat Crumb xx.
For the blackberries
3 cups of blackberries (no need to be exact)
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp lemon juice
For the maple cream cheese
140g cream cheese
3 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp lemon juice
For the pecan oat crumb
70g pecan nuts
1 cup oats
1 tbsp maple syrup
Pinch sea salt.
1. Wash and dry the blackberries and place them in a bowl with two tablespoons of maple syrup and a tablespoon of lemon juice. Set to one side for at least a half hour.
2. To make the maple cream, spoon the cream cheese into a bowl, add the maple syrup and lemon juice and whip into a cream.
3. For the pecan oat crumb, place the pecan nuts on a lined backing tray in a medium oven for five minutes. Remove from the oven and roughly chop. In a blender, blend half a cup of the oats into oat flour. Place the oat flour in a large bowl and rub in the butter using your finger tips until it forms into fine crumbs. Add the remaining half cup of whole oats, chopped pecan nuts, maple syrup and sea salt and stir to combine. Spread the mixture on to a lined baking sheet and toast in the oven for 20 minutes until golden.
4. To serve, spoon 4/5 blackberries onto a plate along with a dollop of the maple cream cheese and a generous serving of the pecan oat crumb. Make sure to drizzle some of the blackberry soaking liquid on top. It would be a crime not to use this.