Blackberry Memories…

A summer never passed that we did not spend a portion of it at our Richmond grandparents’ cabin in Ware Neck. “Domar” was a real cabin and it may not have looked like much to visitors but to us it was pure bliss on the shores of the North River. As soon as we arrived, off came the shoes and on went the bathing suits, our daily gear, until it was time for our sun-drenched bodies to be herded into the outdoor shower at the end of each very long day.

Happy memories were made with cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, playing cards, monopoly, swimming, boating, catching crabs and lightning bugs, plus other unforgettable rituals such as blackberry picking. How exciting it was for us to be sent out with buckets to collect ripe blackberries in anticipation of a hot blackberry roll topped with cold hard sauce that evening. We hiked far and we worked hard picking those blackberries in anticipation of that dessert.

Wild blackberries still grow plump and sweet along the shorelines, ditches and fields around our home and our new generation of barefoot kids are continuing the mid-summer delight, avoiding the dangerous thorns and reaching in deep to pick the blackest and ripest and the sweetest berries. It’s a wonderful summer tradition that ends the very same way: outdoor showers and hot blackberry roll with cold hard sauce.

Blackberry Roll

2 cups sifted flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoon granulated sugar

1/4 cup shortening

3/4 cup milk, more or less

3 cups blackberries

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons butter

Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and 2 tablespoons sugar. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles meal. Add enough milk to make a soft dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out into a 1/4-inch thickness. Place on a cookie sheep with a deep lip and spread with blackberries. Sprinkle 3/4 cup sugar over the berries then dot with butter. Roll the dough around the berries leaving berries slightly exposed in the middle. Sprinkle additional sugar over the dough.  Bake at 400° for about 30 minutes until juicy and crust is nicely browned.

Hard sauce:

1 stick softened butter

1 1/2 cup sifted granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream butter with sugar until fluffy. Stir in vanilla extract. Chill well.

Ann Hohenberger, The Garden Club of Gloucester