Pairing fruit with herbs is one of my not-so-secret weapons, and today’s combination is a favourite. The sweet blackberries cook down to become jammy, while the sage-speckled crumble adds a fragrant, earthy warmth. A good, buttery base is essential for any crumble bar, so bake it before adding the fruit to avoid a soggy bottom. I like to think of these as a bit of a farewell to summer and a welcome to autumn.
Blackberry and sage crumble bars
Prep 30 min
Cook 1 hr
Chill 2 hr +
For the crumble (base and topping)
300g plain flour
70g caster sugar
50g light brown sugar
220g cold salted butter, diced
8-10 sage leaves, finely chopped
For the filling
350g fresh blackberries
45g caster sugar
1 tsp cornflour
Juice of ½ lemon
Line a 20cm x 20cm tin with baking paper, leaving enough overhang so you can lift it out later.
Put the flour, both sugars and the oats in a large bowl and mix to combine. Add the butter and use your fingertips to rub it into the dry ingredients until it all looks like coarse breadcrumbs. Tip three-quarters of the mixture into the lined tin and press it down evenly. Add the sage to the remaining crumble mixture in the bowl and use your fingers to mix it together until it starts to clump. Chill both the base and the topping for 20 minutes.
Heat the oven to 190C (170C fan)/375F/gas 5, then bake the chilled base for 20 minutes, until it looks just set and the edges are starting to brown. Remove and leave to cool a little while you make the filling.
Put the blackberries, sugar, cornflour and lemon juice in a bowl and mix to combine. Pour this over the baked base, then top with the remaining sage-crumble mixture. Bake for a further 40-45 minutes, until the top is golden and the fruit has softened and turned jammy. Remove and leave to cool completely for a couple of hours before slicing and serving.