I received John Whaite’s ‘John Whaite Bakes At Home’ for my birthday in August and until recently had not had the chance to try out any of the recipes. One of the recipes that had caught my eye was this blackberry jam crumble shortbread recipe. I love blackberry recipes and have been disappointed that I’ve been so busy that I’ve not been able to try anymore recipes other than this recipe and the autumn traybake I made back in August.
A couple of weeks ago myself and Mr Birdie hopped on our bikes, armed with some containers, and cycled along the local lanes looking for blackberries. The season was almost over but luckily we managed to find just enough to make this recipe. My Dad told me an old legend that you shouldn’t pick blackberries after October 11th as the devil spits on them! This link explains the legend in more detail.
It was Mr Birdie’s birthday a couple of weeks ago so these made their way into his office and were well received. I have to say I was a little disappointed with how they looked as I imagined that the crumble would be a distinct layer on the top but my jam soaked through to the crumble. However, this didn’t affect the taste and they were indeed very nice. You will need a 20 x 30cm deep sided roasting tray, greased and lined with baking paper.
For the jam
200g golden caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
For the shortbread
300g plain flour
220g unsalted butter (softened)
100g golden caster sugar
For the crumble topping
50g unsalted butter
75g plain flour
30g golden caster sugar
40g rolled oats
1) Begin by making the jam. Place all the ingredients in a medium saucepan and set over a high heat. Stir until the berries begin to release their juice and the sugar dissolves into it.
2) Allow to boil for about five minutes, stirring every minute. After five minutes start testing to see if your jam has reached the ‘thread’ stage. Take the spoon out of the jam, ensuring it is slightly coated. Allow it to cool a little, then touch your forefinger on the jam and squeeze the jam gently between your forefinger and thumb. When you pull your fingers apart there should be a thread of jam between them. At this stage, pour the jam into a cold bowl and allow to cool.
3) Whilst the jam is cooling make the shortbread. Place the butter, flour and sugar in the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix together on a low to medium speed until the mixture comes together in a scraggy mess.
4) Tip this into the lined tin and press it down evenly. With a fork, gently scrape down the length of the shortbread, then across the width to create a criss-cross pattern (this will help the jam cling to it).
5) Then top with the jam and spread it out evenly.
6) Preheat the oven to 200C/180 Fan/Gas 6.
7) To make the crumble topping rub the butter into the flour to create sandy breadcrumbs. Then stir through the sugar and the oats.
8) Sprinkle generously on top of the jam. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the crumble is golden brown (this was tricky to see in my case as the crumble disappeared!)
9) Allow to cool before removing from the tin and slicing into pieces (approx. 12-16).