I find it fascinating that there are so many raspberry-blackberry hybrid crosses out there. We have loganberries, tayberries, and boysenberries and that is not to mention the more complex hybrids of youngberries (a cross between raspberries, blackberries and dewberries) and olallieberries (a cross between loganberries and youngberries). Since I’m sure I’ve missed more, I have to ask: How many breeding brambles are there?
I grow thornless loganberries in my garden. They are incredibly prolific and if I am not careful, they will self-propagate by a method called tip layering – that is the tips of the vine will find soil where they will begin to root and send up new shoots – like their horrid wild cousins, the spiny brambles that take over if left to grow (like my side garden). I now have two plants, each with multiple vines, both healthy and strong. Plus, I’ve given away any number of loganberry plants over the years.
The upshot of these vines growing in my garden are a surplus of deep red-purple berries. It might be more appropriately described as a glut. In fact, getting ready for this year’s crop, while defrosting the freezer, I discovered more frozen from last year. Emergency recipes were required!
Loganberry Crumble Bars
These are a version of my jam crumble bars, only made with a “rough and ready” loganberry jelly. Very scrumptious! But, if you aren’t lucky enough to have loganberries, simply substitute the filling with a jam of your choice. I’ve tried strawberry, raspberry, apricot, blueberry and plum jam crumble bars – all delicious.
- 375g (3 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 225g (1 cup) castor sugar
- zest from 1 lemon
- 225g (1 cup, 16oz., 2 “sticks”) unsalted butter
- 1 large egg
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 C). Prepare a 9 x 13 inch baking pan by buttering the bottom and sides. In a large mixing bowl add the flour, sugar and finely chopped lemon zest. Cut the butter into small pieces and add this to the flour/sugar, mixing with a pastry cutter or fork until it looks like a crumble. Beat the egg and add this to the crumble, mixing with a wooden spoon until well blended. Press 2/3 of the dough evenly into the square pan, reserving 1/3 for the top.
Meanwhile, extract your loganberry juice by crushing 2-1/2 cups of berries. Defrosted berries from frozen are easiest – simply mash with a potato masher. If you are using fresh, heat slightly and then mash. Press the juice through a sieve. You should have about 8 to 10 fluid oz. of juice.
The Jelly Filling:
- 225g (1 cup) jam sugar, this is sugar with added pectin
- 8 to 10 fluid oz. (1 to 1-1/2 cups) loganberry juice
- Juice from 1/2 lemon
Place the sugar, loganberry and lemon juices into a heavy bottomed pot. Heat to a vigorous boil. Boil for approximately 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent it from boiling over. Test for set by putting a small spoonful onto a cold plate. If the jelly should begin to wrinkle when you move it with the side of your finger, it is set. Remove from heat and put into a bowl. Let the jelly cool slightly, stirring occasionally, until it begins to thicken. Spoon over the pressed crumble in the pan.
Top with the remaining crumble.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the top is beginning to brown. Some of the jelly may have “escaped” along the edges. Cool on a rack.
When completely cool, cut into bars. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator.