Berries! They are everywhere. Not too long ago, Frances and Matthew gave me a lovely cookbook from a winery that we had visited together a couple of years ago on a trip through Napa and Sonoma. It has recipes and wine pairings which is wonderful for anyone asking the question of what goes well with [fill in the blank].
I’m always looking for new desserts that are easy and delicious. This one caught my eye because it uses fresh thyme along with the now ubiquitous berries. I happen to be growing a bumper crop of lemon thyme on my terrace and it pairs beautifully with the blackberries. The cookbook gives a recipe for making your own pistachio ice cream but I a) don’t own an ice cream maker; (b) have zero freezer space to make ice cream; and c) don’t want to spend so much time making dessert, so I simply purchased a very good quality “Mediterranean” Pistachio ice cream. If you want to make your own ice cream, buy the book. DO NOT OMIT the ice cream and do not buy that phony strange green stuff. This dessert really needs the pistachio ice cream to play off of the berries. “Crisp” is a bit of a misnomer, in my opinion. I might consider doubling the topping next time I make this since it sort of disappeared as a topping, simply melding with the berries and giving the berries some heft.
The dessert is not impressive looking (which could be why there was no photo of it in the cookbook…) and you won’t think this is the greatest thing you have EVER eaten. I’m just being honest. However, after taking that first bite, you will say “Wow, this is REALLY good.” It’s also surprisingly filling, so you could get 6 portions out of it. And once I added the pistachio ice cream and took that first bite – well, it was just a bit of perfection.
I don’t happen to live where wild blackberries grow, but if you do, they would be wonderful here. My blackberries came from the produce section of my local market.
Blackberry Thyme Crisp with Pistachio Ice Cream from the Winemaker Cooks by Christine Hanna
Yield: 4 to 6 servings with ice cream
4 cups/455 grams fresh blackberries, washed and drained
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1/3 cup/65 grams granulated sugar
1 generous teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (preferably lemon thyme)
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the topping
6 Tablespoons/45 grams unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup/100 grams packed brown sugar/Demerara sugar
1/2 cup/100 grams granulated sugar
Generous 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or fine salt
6 Tablespoons/85 grams cold, unsalted butter cut into cubes
Good quality pistachio ice cream
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F/190 degrees C. Lightly butter a 9-inch square baking pan.
- In a large bowl, gently toss the berries with the sugar, cornstarch, thyme, lemon juice and vanilla. Allow it to stand for 15 minutes, while you make the topping and the oven heats up.
- In a food processor, pulse the flour, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt until combined. Add the butter and continue processing until the mixture resembles coarse sand.
- Turn the fruit into the prepared baking pan and spread the fruit to an even layer. evenly spread the topping over the fruit.
- Bake for 35 – 45 minutes or until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature with the ice cream.