Blackberry Whirligig

This blackberry whirligig is made with a gooey blackberry filling and a soft, cobbler style topping with swirls of blackberry jam, a delicious twist to an old favourite.

 blackberry whirligig

We’ve just had the last harvest of blackberries from the wild blackberry brambles near a local field. Jars of blackberry jam are stored away in the pantry, blackberry gin is steeping in the outhouse, and pots of frozen blackberries fill the freezer. For the final blackberry offering, I decided to keep it simple with a blackberry whirligig.

This recipe was inspired by one of the recipes I received at school during my food technology lessons. I had a (probably annoying) habit of changing the recipes and adding my own additions onto the originals, and this one is no exception. Notes of ‘bit too sweet’, ‘more jam’, and ‘don’t knead too much’ have been pencilled into the margins.

It’s still a great recipe, and one I often turn to when I’m saturated with pies and crumbles! The topping is a soft cobbler-come-scone type topping with swirls of beautiful purple jam running through. It begins life as a crumble topping, but the added milk brings in together into a soft dough. Underneath, the berries turn sticky like jam, and the sugar adds that little hit of sweetness to combat the cheek-sucking tartness of fresh blackberries.

Recently, I bought a bag of wholemeal flour and have been enjoying experimenting with it, and found it worked nicely in this. However this recipe would work just as well with white self-raising flour. You may need to adjust the amounts of liquid needed to bring it together, as wholemeal flour is often drier that its white counterparts.

I also used blackberry jam because it’s the only jam we have in the house at the moment, but any jam will work just as well. You could also use different fruits for the filling. Stewed apple would work really well, and would be perfect for autumn now Bramley apples are starting to ripen!  I was tempted to try adding some spices such as cinnamon or ginger into the topping, but decided against it at the last minute. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could certainly give this idea a go!

This whirligig recipe is really great because it is so versatile. There’s so many different ways you can mix it up and change it. Why not use this as a basic recipe, and make a few alterations yourself? Just pencil them into the margins so you won’t forget- it’s always worked for me!

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Blackberry Whirligig

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: Serves 6

This blackberry whirligig is made with a gooey blackberry filling and a soft, cobbler style topping with swirls of blackberry jam, a delicious twist to an old favourite.


  • 350g blackberries
  • 25g golden caster sugar
  • 25g plain flour
  • 150g wholemeal self-raising flour
  • 75g butter
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp semi-skimmed milk
  • 3 tbsp blackberry jam


  1. Toss the blackberries in the sugar and flour, and pour into an 18cm rectangular ovenproof dish.
  2. Next, pre-heat the oven to 200°c/400°f/gas mark 6.
  3. To prepare the topping, sieve the flour into a large bowl, tipping in all the bits of bran caught in the sieve. Cut the butter into even sized cubes. Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the caster sugar and add enough milk until the dough comes together into a soft, pastry-like mixture. (You may not need it all).
  4. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured work surface to a rectangle about the thickness of a £1 coin. Spread the jam evenly over the dough, then roll up from the long end like a swiss roll. Cut into even slices, about 1.5cm thick, and arrange neatly over the blackberries.
  5. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 25-30 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling. Serve hot with custard or crème fraiche. ▪

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