I mentioned in an earlier post that my kitchen was “inaccessible” for a couple of very long weeks. I had already purchased some prized produce like blackberries, apricots, nectarines and figs in anticipation of seasonal, delicious culinary creations to come. Blackberries do not keep well for very long. They get mushy and kind of disgustingly disintegrate. Needless to say a lot of my blackberry lot had to be thrown away in yard recycling. Blackberries are at their peak season in June for the South and July in the North.
I happened upon this recipe for a Blackberry-Almond Shortbread…I can’t remember the last time I made a shortbread. Blackberries and almonds? A winner with me! The dough used to create the crust is utilized both on the bottom and crumbled all over the top. It’s shortbread, buttery goodness without overpowering the sweet fragile nature of the blackberries. I considered leaving out the orange zest, but was happier later for not omitting it. It’s a good, reliable and quick recipe that I may try out using sweet cherries.
Wikipedia includes the following nutrition details on these “aggregate fruit”:
- Blackberries are high in dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid and manganese.
- They rank high among fruits for antioxidant strength.
- Blackberries have a short freshness-life when purchased. Plan to use them fairly quickly after bringing them home from the market.
- I had almond flour, so I skipped the step of having to grind blanched almonds after toasting. Instead, measured out 1/4 cup of almond flour and roasted it in the oven for about 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees. Your time may vary, keep an eye on it – when it starts turning golden, pull from oven immediately.
Makes 10-12 squares
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 cup whole blanched almonds OR 1/4 cup almond meal/flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar, plus more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 pound fresh blackberries (about 3 1/2 – 4 cups)
1 orange zest, freshly grated
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use non-stick spray on a 9×13 baking pan. Dust with flour, tapping out excess.
If Using Whole Blanched Almonds
Arrange almonds in a single layer on rimmed baking sheet. Bake until golden, about 12-15 minutes. Let the almonds cool completely. Grind in food processor until fine.
If Using Almond Meal/Flour
Scoop 1/4 cup almond meal/flour on a rimmed baking pan. Slightly shake the pan back and forth to gently distribute flour on pan. Bake until slightly golden about 8-10 minutes (your time may vary, watch for the almond meal/flour to start slightly browning). Remove from oven and let cool.
Mix flour, processed nuts flour, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl; set aside. Add 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar and butter in a bowl of an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Mix in almond extract. Add flour mixture in 3 batches; mix until crumbly dough forms.
Press all but 1 cup of dough onto bottom of processed baking pan. Evenly distribute blackberries with zest and scatter over dough. Sprinkle with remaining sugar and reserved dough on top.
Bake until golden, about 25-30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into squares and dust with confectioner’s sugar when serving.