Bramble brûlée from Cooking: Simply and Well, for One or Many

This is a pudding mum would make for us through the Autumn on our return from gathering brambles picked from the hedgerows in and around the village. The pudding was a prize earned for the scratches and general dishevelment resulting from battle with the bushes. If brambles, as wild blackberries were always known in Scotland, were plentiful, and survived scoffing by us hungry pickers, jars of bramble jelly were made and stored with all the other preserves, each label painted by Dad and watched over with careful eyes against an always ravenous brood.

Mum would hold back a few handfuls of brambles and gently fold them through lightly sweetened, gently whipped cream that was then spooned into a shallow dish, strewn with demerara sugar and placed under a hot grill until the sugar caramelised and ran through the gently melting cream, richly marbled by a few bubbling brambles peeping through on top. The dish was then cooled and popped into the fridge.

Should brambles prove scarce, raspberries are very good here. Turn on the grill.

For each person, add a large pinch of caster sugar to 100ml (2/5 cup or 3 1/3 ounces) of double cream and whip lightly until soft peaks form. Gently fold through the brambles. Spoon into a shallow dish. Strew with a teaspoon of Demerara sugar. Do not smooth.

Sit the dish on a tray and place under the hot grill. Rotate the tray after a minute or so to ensure the sugar caramelises evenly. Once coloured a deep mahogany, the caramel, cream and brambles on the surface running and bubbling somewhat, remove from the heat and let sit for a few minutes until cool enough to be refrigerated.

Reprinted with permission from Cooking by Jeremy Lee, published by Fourth Estate, @2022. Order your copy from Now Serving Bookstore here.


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