Swagmans Treat - Damper with Blackberry Jam
"Damper is to Australia what Bagels are to America and Scones are to England. Elegantly put by Wikipedia "Damper is a traditional Australian soda bread, historically prepared by swagmen, drovers, stockmen, and other travellers over hot coals""Serves 6 | Prep Time 15 minutes | Cook Time 45 - 50 minutes
Why I Love This Recipe
I remember when I was in grade two, we were learning all about Australia and our culture. My dad was invited into class to introduce us all to the wonderful sounds of the didgeridoo, another parent taught us all how to make Damper, and I have been obsessed with Damper ever since. I would take it over a scone any day! but with its ingredient list consisting of just flour, butter, salt and water, it's not the most flavoursome dessert. So what ingredient could I add to it that was just as Australian to make it a kick ass dessert... Vegemite!!! I'm just kidding. Blackberries!!! Blackberries grow wild all over Australia, sure they're not native (they were introduced in the 1800's) and sure they're technically a 'weed' (invasive weed actually) but because they're everywhere, and because I grew up seeing them all over the outback, suburbia and the cities... they're Australian in my eyes.
Ingredients You'll Need
3 cups self-raising flour (+ some for dusting)
80g butter (small cubes)
3/4 - 1 cup water (for reference, I required 1 whole cup of water today, it was 16 degrees Celsius.) As the temperature rises, your butter will become softer and will work into the flour, therefore you won’t require as much water to bring the dough together, in the colder weather and the butter remains solid and the water is your sole source of 'stick' for the dough.
3tsp Blackberry Jam
(I could give you a recipe for Blackberry Compote here... but in true Damper spirit, we're keeping this one simple)
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius
Line a baking tray and set aside.
Place flour (damper is supposed to be rustic, so I don't sift any of my ingredients) and salt into a large mixing bowl.
Introduce small cubes of butter into the flour and using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs and you can no longer feel chunks of butter.
Create a well in the centre of your flour mixture and pour roughly 1/4 cup of water in at a time, use your fingertips to loosely toss the water through the mixture, you want to avoid kneading at this point.
Once your dough has come together, (it shouldn't be at all sticky, we're about to add more moisture in the form of melted jam, so you want the dough to be border lining on too crumbly) move it to the benchtop and knead until the surface of your damper is somewhat smooth and there are minimal cracks.
Using your palm, beat your damper out flat, to about an inch thick.
Place 3tsp of Blackberry Jam into a container and microwave for 30 seconds, stir until smooth.
Spoon Blackberry Jam randomly (not in one big pool) onto the top of your flattened damper, fold all four sides of your damper in over the jam, and knead. Don't panic if some of the jam oozes out, as you knead it will pick it back up again.
Once your Jam is spread throughout the damper (you don't want to knead it too much or you will lose the marbling effect) your dough will be sticky to the touch. Using a desert spoon, sprinkle 1 dessert spoon of flour onto your damper and work it in gently. Repeat this step until your damper is once again dry to the touch (mine took 2 dessert spoons of flour).
Sprinkle your damper with a small amount of flour to coat it, pick up your dough and smack it to throw off any excess, and then begin to shape. Remember, damper is supposed to be rustic, don't stress to much about the shape it takes on, just let it form naturally.
Place in the oven to cook for 45 - 50minutes or until the crust is golden.
When damper is turned upside down and taped on the base, it should sound hollow.
Pairs Well With