One of the delicacies of the American South is blackberries. The season is a short one, only a few weeks from April to mid May*and then it is over. Speaking as someone who used to go black-berrying, there is no activity on earth so staining to the mouth and fingers, so leg scratching, or ultimately, so satisfying.
My personally favorite recipe is Blackberry Cobbler. You need about four cups of blackberries 2 tablespoons of sugar, 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, ½ teaspoon baking powder, a pinch of sea salt, ¾ cup flour, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, and 6 tablespoons of butter. After that it’s easy. You cream the butter salt and baking powder together in a mixer, add the flower and when you have a fluffy consistency, drop on top of the blackberries rolled in the sugar and cornstarch in a pyrex dish. You need a 400 oven for a half hour and voila! This makes an excellent cobbler, not too sweet that goes very nicely with ice cream.
Outside of blackberry season you can make cobbler, but you have to use expensive imported berries, or mushy frozen ones, and somehow, the result is never quite as good. My own way of meeting a craving for berries outside the season, is to wear some in perfume form. My go to choices right now, come from two vials I have carefully kept aside from the general population of samples: Hanae Mori on the one hand, and Jo Malone Blackberry and Bay on the other.
They’re both very good in different ways. The Jo Malone produces a rather natural brambly scent. You might call it the scent of the black berrying in progress. There is the distinctly green smell of the hedges, the tart, slightly sulfuric smell of the berries themselves, and the result is a perfume which does recall the sprawling brambly habitat of the blackberry. It reminds me of every abortive attempt I have ever made at foraging- and I have made several, including a couple of mistaken mushrooming expeditions in Italy. Let us just say that I am not an expert forager, so it is best for me to stick to something simple- like berries.
The Hanae Mori, on the other hand, conjures up the finished cobbler with a generous dollop of vanilla ice cream melting down its sides. It is an unctuous perfume, that mystifyingly, seems at its best in late spring or early summer. H.M. even smells good at 100 degrees fahrenheit, and it is the only vanilla fragrance of which I have found this to be true. Normally I would not go near vanilla then, but HM is different.
The two takes on black berry perfumes remind me of that cracking good read, Le Cru et Le Cuit by Levi-Strauss. Blackberries raw, and blackberries cooked, only there is no thinking involved here as with the book, no analysis, nothing difficult at all in this enjoyment of the raw and the cooked, simply pleasure unexpurgated and unabridged.
* My reference here seasonally was New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. Here in New Jersey the season is July onwards.