Autumn is here! My favourite season of them all. So it was with great glee that I managed to pick enough blackberries on a walk a few weekends ago to bake the king of all British, autumnal fare: the blackberry and apple tart.
It’s a rare moment when all of these ingredients crowd together and demand to be baked into a rough-hewn pie, bubbling purple from beneath a golden pastry lattice. The blackberries have to be wild — picked from hedgerows and piled into baskets, or scattered into the bottom of plastic carrier bags. Their cost is bramble scratches, nettle stings and fingertips stained purple, but they are a million times sweeter and tarter than the strangely tasteless shop-bought variety. And the apples have to be Bramley, ‘cooking apples’, with their intensely tart quality which renders them edible only when tamed with sugar and heat. You can’t use normal apples here, sorry.
For the sweet pastry
- 900g butter, softened
- 65g caster sugar
- 3 large egg yolks
- 200g flour
For the filling
- 600g bramley apples, peeling and sliced
- 200g blackberries, washed and gently patted dry
- 100g caster sugar
- A pinch of cinammon
- 1 egg, beaten with two tablespoons of milk
– Heat oven to 190c / 170c fan oven / gas mark 5.
– Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until well combined and then beat in the egg yolks one at a time until fully mixed in.
– Mix in the flour until the mixture comes together as a ball of dough.
– Tip the mix out onto a floured worktop and knead briefly until smooth.
– Wrap the pastry in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
– Once it’s chilled, roll 2/3 of the pastry out on a floured surface, before using it to line the bottom of your favourite tart dish (about 23cm is ideal). Leave a slight overhang – the pastry will shrink when you bake it so you don’t want to trim it right down at this stage. (GBBO knowledge right there.)
– Save any pastry scraps, and return the tart to the fridge for 10 minutes. Prick the base lightly with a fork, then line with baking paper and baking beans or a suitable alternative (I used rice).
– Place in the oven on a baking tray for 20 minutes, remove the beans and paper, then bake for 10 mins more until sandy brown and almost biscuity.
– Tip the apples into a large bowl and microwave on high for 3 minutes to soften. Toss in the berries, sugar, cinammon and 2 tbsp flour with a pinch of salt and mix well before piling into the case, saving 14 berries for later to go in the gaps of the lattice.
– Roll the remaining pastry and trimmings together into a square. Divide into eight strips of pastry.
– Weave the strips of pastry evenly over the fruit to create the lattice, and push the ends into the edge of the tart. Trim the overhang of pastry, brush the lattice heavily with the egg / milk mixture then scatter generously with more sugar.
– Push the remaining berries into the gaps, then bake for about an hour until brown and bubbling.
– Leave to cool for about half an hour, then serve with cream or ice cream. Leftovers survive pretty well covered in cling film for a few days, and are also yummy cold.
Tip: If you like, use leftover pastry to decorate your lattice. Take a small, sharp knife and cut out suitably autumnal shapes. Leaves are always a safe choice.
Listening to Sort of by Ingrid Michaelson, Brave by Sara Bareilles and Sister Rosetta goes before us by Alison Krauss and Robert Plant.
This recipe is an amalgamation of two from BBC Good Food, which you can find here and here. I made a few changes, namely reducing the amount of filling. Everything else is © Rebecca Daley and ohtogoawandering, 2015.