bunn (bunn) wrote,

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Pheasantberry cake recipe (Leycesteria formosa)

I think I know why pheasantberries are not well known as edible berries, apart from any variability in flavour - they are a right bugger to pick.  You have to let them turn brown before they are palatable.   Even perfectly ripe they are incredibly squishy and juicy and pop right out of their skins. If you leave them too long they practically liquify and become little more than brown juice in a bag which splatters over your fingers. I think the flavour is sweeter on sunny days.

The fruits appear in tiers on large pendulous flower clusters, and the ones on the top tier ripen first, so you can't just grab a whole bunch in one go.  Because they are so very soft when ripe, and because they are protected by a large leafy calyx, although the bush produces a lot of fruit for its size, it's quite timeconsuming to pick more than a few of them. I picked 3 oz and it seemed to take ages!

Anyway, having picked 3 oz of them, I mixed up 3 oz sugar, 3 oz butter, 6 oz selfraising flour with an egg and some water into a thick batter. I added a teaspoon of nutmeg, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon and some ginger.

Because the pheasantberries are so soft, I folded them into the mix right at the end, but they still pretty much disintegrated. If you wanted to just have their rather nice caramelly flavour without being able to actually see them in the cake, you could add them earlier and squish them right into the mix, I don't think this would alter the texture much.  Then I shoved it in the oven at 190 degrees C till a knife came out clean when I impaled it.
Tags: berries, food, fruit, garden, pheasantberry

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