This summer's berry season has been quite spectacular, and we've caught the berrying bug (not all of us, of course, but my big boy and I have for sure). There's something addictive about walking the woods, scouting for berries - blackberries are the primary target around here - stretching up for the prized berry while avoiding the vicious thorns, and then onwards to find the next bush and the next ripe berry, be it high up or hidden away low in the brambles, be it around the next bend in the path or farther on - you're never sure exactly where, but you just know there will be another one.
Blackberry picking in our woods is a slow business. The basket always seems empty (even when we've tried the clever strategy of bringing along the smallest of our baskets), so each and every one of the berries is a real treasure, and demands a special way of being served.
I ruled out making jam with them, as cooking them to what is essentially a pulp seemed a shame. A couple of times I made a berry torta (note, I use the Italian word "torta" because I'm very confused by all the many different torta-terms in the English language), but I wasn't happy with it. Have a look:
It's a good recipe, and the torta always tasted very good, but it didn't look special enough for our hard-won blackberries. What I needed was a white torta, on which the deep purple berries would stand out supreme.
A cheesecake! And this was the very first time I'd ever made one! I cannot believe that I never have thought of making a cheesecake before: it's the simplest of desserts to make, involves no baking, and everyone adores it. (I used this recipe by BBCFoods, but used 400gr Digestives for the crust).
Now we have a cheesecake torta which really highlights our blackberries, and we've added it to our family torta recipes - even though Rebecca thinks it an odd type of torta, and finds it very amusing that it gets "cooked in the fridge", as she puts it.