Monday, August 03, 2009

quickberry! quackberry! pick me a blackberry!

blackberry bramble

Yes, I know that blackberries are the invasive scourge of yards and farms and gardens all over this part of the country. Yes, a vexation, but, oh, so tasty. I don't want to imply that everyone born and raised in this area is across the board callous and hard toward the brambly fruit. But it seems to me that the longer one has lived around these parts, the more blackberries are a nuisance. The more their tart sweetness, their abundance, is taken for granted. Having grown up in the southwestern desert, and having had a recent 3 year stay in Arizona, I cannot help being in awe -still!- that berries grow wild, like, everywhere. You just take a walk and pick them. On the side of the road, wherever! Bring a bowl. Bring several. Because there are just so! many! berries!

We're on the front end of blackberries now. We rode our bikes the other day to a sure picking spot. The bramble was thick and the berries were plenty. The best ones are always just beyond reach, but if you're careful, you can slide a slow arm in among the thorns and get to ripe ones, the juicy ones that just fall off the vine when touched, the ones that drip purple juice down your fingers.

We came home with just a few pounds. Enough for having fresh blackberries on hand for a few days. There will lots more berry picking trips in the weeks to come.

My boy requested a blackberry pie, but I'm no good at pies. I'm a rotten, lousy, grumpy pie maker. This has, I like to think, nothing to do with my skills in the kitchen and is completely about my preference for using whole grain flours. Wholesome and healthy, right on! But I can't make a pie crust for anything. The dough is too thick and falls apart and I've given up (yes, this is the part where a committed pastry chef would scoff at my ingredient choice and wonder why I don't just get the right sort of processed flour. and, well, this where I respond that I guess I'm just not all that committed to pie. love pie, but slopping crunchy crisps and cobblers together is fine enough for me).

No pie, then. That's when I thought about a friend of mine who made and served a blueberry boy bait when she had our family over for dinner recently. It was delicious, light and fluffy and well-received by all. When she first said blueberry boy bait, I heard Blueberry Boy bait. A bait for blueberry boys. Which probably sounds like a ridiculous thing for me to have heard, until you consider how many times in my mothering tenure I've read aloud Peter in Blueberry Land. Many, many many times. The blueberry boys and the cranberry girls are practically my kids' cousins. But no, it's actually like this: blueberry Boy Bait. Like the "boy bait" is the product and it just happens to be blueberry flavored.

I have no business baiting boys. Apparently, the recipe was created by a fifteen year old contestant in the 1954 pillsbury bake-off. And you have to know that the naming is always everything. But it is a fun thing to say. Even if you're 33 and married and only glance up a little when the college track boys run by your house (wait, did I type that out loud?).

So I made a blackberry boy bait, using this recipe. I substituted, um, blackberries for the blueberries, upping the quantity a smidge. I also used (see above) whole wheat flour. I think the extra fruit makes up for the slight heaviness that the whole wheat flour causes. And, in my book, you can't go wrong with cooked up fruit, in just about any form.

My three (a girl and a man and one little boy) all seemed to be quite taken by its charms. I guess it worked? I confess that I haven't had any yet, so I can't proclaim its deliciousness first hand. I'm saving my piece for tomorrow's breakfast.

blackberry boy bait


milkstained said...

Oh, yes, track boys & blackberries. Yum.

midgettroyani said...