After a beautiful weekend in the Upper Peninsula visiting my mother’s side of the family we have returned to the humidity of the Lower Peninsula with a bucket of wild blackberries in tow. My aunt and uncle know of all the best berry picking locations and while I was asleep in my bed, my parents joined them for some early morning picking. I did do a tiny bit of thimbleberry picking (pictured below) and I  sat through the 7 hour car ride home thinking about what to make. It is too hot to bake and I just made a batch of jam so I settled on a frozen dessert. I seem to be a creature of habit – the last post I did about Raphaelle Peale was a recipe for orange & lemon ice cream and exactly one year ago I posted a recipe for a frozen watermelon margarita. For another cold treat check out my post about coconut milk ice cream.

Raphaelle Peale, Blackberries, c.1813
oil on wood panel, 18.4 x 26 cm, de Young Fine Art Museum

Raphaelle Peale exhibited Blackberries twice at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, first in 1814 and then again in 1817. The small painting depicts both ripe and unripe berries in a small shallow bowl. The subject matter is typical for work by Peale who was fond of balancing his still life compositions with everyday items. The audience for the painting was a limited one given the small panel size. Only one person could properly view the artwork at any given time giving the composition a sense of intimacy.  The hovering berries and luminous colour convey the perception of life and movement to the inanimate objects (1).

{Wild Blackberry & Honey Frozen Yogurt}

This is a sour yogurt recipe. To sweeten, double the amount of sugar.

1 1/2 c (300 g) Greek yogurt
1 lemon, juiced
3 TB sugar
3 tsp honey*
3 c wild blackberries

In a plastic tub suitable for use in a freezer add the Greek yogurt and honey. In a small cup, add the juice from the lemon and sugar and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add the lemon-sugar mixture to the honey yogurt.

Chop the wild blackberries in a blender. Strain out the seeds and add the blackberry juice to the yogurt mixture. Stir well and place in fridge for 3-5 hours or until firm. Once the yogurt begins to firm, remove from freezer and stir to break the ice crystals. This will ensure the ice cream is smooth.

Spoon in a pretty dish and add a couple of fresh berries for a contrast in texture (I used blackberries and thimbleberries). Will keep for a couple of weeks in the freezer.

*I used a really lovely lavender honey my mother brought home from France. Regular honey will work just as fine but it would be really fun to try different flavoured honeys.

This is the first part in a two part series featuring wild blackberries and Raphaelle Peale.