Blackberries

Baked Camembert with Blackberry and Red Onion Jam

I have a confession to make. I am a berry-holic. I have been loving summer here in Seattle, and dread the oncoming winter and lack of delicious berries. So I have been making jams, shrubs (see next weeks post) and anything else I can think of to extend this wonderful season. Blackberries and raspberries have always been my favourite, though I am discovering some new ones here in the USA (tayberries anyone?). 

Blackberries are all over the place in the Pacific Northwest. They grow wild throughout parks, in backyards, and all over the side of the road. I can look out my window here in Seattle and see a whole bank of blackberry bushes full of plump ripe berries. This is an odd concept for me as back home blackberry bushes are considered weeds and frequently sprayed. As such, I have always loved the idea of heading out somewhere to pick wild berries.

Recently I went on a work retreat over to Anderson Island for the day. In the middle of weeks of stunning summer weather, we had one cold stormy day that coincided perfectly with our retreat! It was still a lovely day, and before the rain really set in we got out onto the property and spent an hour picking blackberries from the overloaded bushes. I had a great morning, and at the end of the day left with a big tupperware container full of berries. I've been buying blackberries from the markets every week for most of the summer. Now that I have gone out and picked my own, I won't be buying them again! I'm already thinking of where to go picking next, and whether I have a container big enough. 

I also happen to be a big fan of cheese. My parents used to call me a mouse when I was little, as I would happily snack on a chunk of basic cheddar cheese. Who am I kidding, I still do that. In any case, I thought the best thing to do with this delicious savoury jam was to smother it over a soft cheese and bake it until it was gooey. I was right. 

This should serve at least four as a starter, or two greedy people for dinner.

Ingredients
For the jam
splash of oil
2 red onions, chopped
thyme, leaves removed from the stems and roughly chopped
pinch of salt
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
juice of 1 lemon
350g blackberries
To finish
small wheel of Camembert

 
 

Method
Heat oil, onions, salt and thyme over a medium heat until deeply caramelized.
Add the blackberries, vinegar, sugar and lemon juice.
Bring the mixture to a boil, and then simmer for approximately 1 hour until thick. 
Ladle the jam into a sterilized jar.

 
 

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
Unwrap the cheese and place in a small ovenproof dish.
Score the top of the cheese with a sharp knife – you don’t want the cheese to explode out of the rind!
Spoon a few tablespoons (or more) of the jam over the cheese.
Bake in the oven for 15 min.
Let the cheese cool down slightly (so you don’t burn your mouth) and then scoop generously onto some nice crusty bread.

Note. You should have tons of the jam leftover after this. Take my advice and spread it on some nice thick pieces of bread, add cheese and toast it. You're welcome.