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This is my favorite time of year.

When the light starts to acquire that lovely fall glow. The dahlias are at their most vibrant, dew forms in thick droplets on delicate spider's webs and the roses show up for one last hurrah.

Amidst this stunning color palette, the dark purple tones of the elderberries and wild blackberries are simply irresistible to me. I don't even mind the thorns. For this kind of blackberry haul, I'll gladly get myself a little scratched up.

My French grandmother (Provencal, to be more accurate) always made quince cheese in the autumn. It's a sweet, thick jelly made from the pulp of quince fruit and it's served as one of the 13 traditional Christmas desserts in Provence. If you want to have a go, have a look here.

I decided to take this recipe and experiment with blackberries and elderberries. I ended up with delicious little blackberry gummy candies and elderberry roll-ups.

Do you want to have a go?

For the blackberry gummy candies (about 20 pieces, depending on how thick you make them) you'll need:

· 300g (10oz) Blackberries

· 100g (4oz) Pears, peeled and chopped

· 400g (14oz) Sugar

· Juice of one lemon

Prep time: 30-40 minutes, plus drying time (depends on their thickness).

This is how they're made:

Bring the blackberries to a boil in a large saucepan with the pears and sugar.

Simmer for 15-20 minutes, then add the lemon juice and stir. Blend the mixture in a food processer or blender (the longer you do this for, the less likely you are to encounter crunchy blackberry seeds).

Pour the mixture onto either a baking tray lined with baking paper, or into a tart dish or silicone mold. Smooth down the surface. The thinner you make it, the quicker it will dry and the sooner you'll be able to enjoy your candy. But if you make it a bit thicker, it'll be nice and juicy.

Leave it to dry in a safe place, away from anybody with a sweet tooth (it could take about 2 weeks so there's a challenge...).

It's a good idea to flip it over every now and then, which is why I'd recommend making lots of little drops instead of one big piece. If you're in more of a hurry, you can dry the whole thing in the oven at 50°C (125°F) until the surface feels dry and is relatively easy to flip over.

When it's ready, sprinkle the top with sugar (this will make it easier to work with) then cut it into squares, or use cookie cutters to cut out cute little shapes. Sprinkle all the sides with sugar. And you're done!

Elderberry roll-ups

To make those, you first need to make some fruit leather. Isn't that the weirdest term? Doesn't sound particularly nice or appetizing, but I'm afraid it's all we've got. Apart from that, this recipe is very similar to the one above.

For approximately 10 roll-ups, you'll need:

· 300g (10oz) Elderberries

· 100g (4oz) Apples, peeled and chopped

· 200g (7oz) Gelling sugar

· 1 tsp citric acid

Prep time: 30 minutes, plus approx. 2 hours of drying time in the oven.

Just like for the blackberry gummy candies, boil the elderberries, apple, sugar and citric acid in a saucepan for 10 minutes. Then blend the whole thing in a blender and spread it very thinly onto baking paper (approx. 2mm thick). Leave to dry. I like to dry it in the oven at 50°C (125°F) for approx. 2 hours.

When the surface is dry and gummy to the touch, sprinkle a bit of sugar on top and roll it into a kind of roulade, then cut into pieces about 2cm in length. Arrange them so they look nice and then sprinkle a little more sugar on top.


Happy gummy-ing,



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