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How to make bramble bàrr

This combination of crushed blackberries, whisky cream and blackberry and whisky syrup makes for a delightful dessert. Author Connieach MacLeod, aka The Hebridean Baker, shares his recipe for bramble bàrr from his book.

A glass filled with alternating white and red layers of cream and red liquid

Bàrr is the Gaelic for cream. This layered bramble (wild blackberries) cream infused with whisky should be served in glasses to showcase its beautiful colours.


How to identify blackberries

A mix of black (ripe) and red (unripe) blackberries on a bramble bush.
Blackberries turn glossy black in colour when ripe. © Jason Jones Travel Photography/Getty

Blackberries are one of the most distinctive wild fruits, growing on the very widespread bramble plant. Blackberries start green in colour, progressing to red and dark purple, before turning a glossy black when ripe. They can be confused with wild raspberries (red when ripe) and dewberries (waxy black when ripe).

Learn more about identifying wild fruits and sustainable foraging.


When to pick blackberries

Close up of hands holding ripe blackberries.
Foraging for blackberries. © David Burton/Getty

Depending on the location in the UK (with the south normally seeing ripe fruits first), the first ripe blackberries are usually seen from mid to late July onwards, but the real harvest is typically from mid August onwards into autumn.

Traditionally, blackberries shouldn’t be picked after Old Michaelmas Day on 10 October (used to be 29 September until the calendar reform in 1752), as this is when Lucifer was expelled from Heaven and landed in a bramble bush. He cursed the thorny bush, stamping and spitting on the blackberries.

Blackberries are very versatile fruits and a favourite of most foragers – if you can manage to not eat them all straight off the bush, they can be used to make jam, combined with apple to make crumble, used to flavour spirits, such as vodka and whisky, or vinegar and much more.

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Ingredients

  • Sugar 100g
  • Bramble jelly (or blackberry jam) 3 tbsp
  • Whisky 150ml
  • Lemon 1/2, juiced
  • Double cream 405ml
  • Brambles (blackberries) 200g

Method

  • Step 1

    Put the sugar, bramble jelly and 100ml of the whisky into a saucepan. Add the lemon juice and 2 strips of lemon rind. Stir over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and the jelly has melted. Bring to the boil, then allow to bubble for a minute. Remove from the heat and leave to cool in the pan for an hour and then remove the rinds.

  • Step 2

    Add the double cream to a bowl along with the remaining whisky and whisk until soft peaks form.

  • Step 3

    Keep a blackberry per glass to decorate the top, then add the rest to a bowl and crush them gently with a fork.

  • Step 4

    To assemble, pour a layer of the syrup in the bottom of each glass, then a layer of whisky cream. Next add a layer of the crushed blackberries, another layer of cream, a second layer of syrup and a final layer of cream. Garnish with a blackberry and serve.

    A glass filled with alternating white and red layers of cream and red liquid

Inspired by family recipes and traditional Scottish bakes, Coinneach launched the Hebridean Baker on Tiktok in 2020. Fifteen million video views (and counting!) later, Coinneach has motivated his followers around the world to bake, forage, learn Gaelic, have a dram or two or whisky and to lead a more wholesome, simple life.

Coinneach MacLeod

This is a recipe from his debut book, The Hebridean Baker - Recipes & Wee Stories from the Scottish Islands. Focusing on small bakes that use a simple set of ingredients, these recipes will unleash your inner Scottish baker. It's all about rustic, homebaking and old family favourites because as Coinneach says 'Homemade is Always Best.'

The Hebridean Baker book cover
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