September is always so lovely weather-wise, it's my birthday this month and I can't remember a past one when we didn't sit out. And of course, it's a great time for gathering blackberries. I often join my friend and her dog for a morning walk, made more enjoyable when we happen across banks of brambles.
I picked all those at the right height this sunny morning (while my friend ate handfuls and John the dog got bored) and I came back with almost more than I know what to do with. Blackberries make the prettiest and most delicious icing, so that's where I started and I'll guess the rest can got into a kilner jar, get covered with vodka and put into a dark cupboard until Christmas!
Prepare: 30 minutes, plus rising
Cook: 30 - 35 minutes
350ml milk or dairy-free alternative (I used Oatly Barista) 50g unsalted butter or dairy-free alternative (I used Pure spread) 500g strong white bread flour, plus extra to knead 75g caster sugar 7g sachet easy bake yeast ½ tsp salt
1 tso vanilla bean paste 1 egg, beaten
lavender flowers (also in season right now) or dried rose petals, both optional
For the icing
125g blackberries, well washed
2 tsp caster sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
100g icing sugar
1 Warm the milk and butter in a small pan until lukewarm.
2 Place the flour, sugar yeast, salt and vanilla bean paste in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the egg and warm milk mixture and using a dough hook, mix for about 5 minutes to make a soft, slightly sticky dough. Return to the bowl, then cover and set aside for an hour until the dough has doubled in size.
3 Lightly flour a 23cm loose-bottomed cake tin. Roll the dough into 9 even-sized balls and place in the tin. Leave to rise for 30 minutes.
4 Preheat the oven to 180˚C, gas mark 4. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the buns are well risen and cooked through. Lift out of the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack.
5 Meanwhile, place the blackberries in small pan with the sugar and lemon juice. Simmer for about 5 minutes until the berries turn pink and soften but don't collapse. Tip them into a sieve set over a bowl and leave the juice to slowly strain through. (the black berries are delicious with yogurt and toasted oats for breakfast).
6 Slowly stir the blackberry juice into the icing sugar until smooth and as thick or drizzly as you like it.
Spoon over the buns, drizzle with flower if you wish, then leave to set.