Foraged Blackberry tart

blackberriesHurray, it’s Blackberry time again.

Ok, so this August Bank Holiday has been a wash out, but hey, every cloud has a silver lining. All that rain will give us fatter, sweeter berries.

Late August to early September is the best time to forage for Blackberries – and the hedges along a favourite walk of mine (at Cossington Meadows) are full of free food. Every corner I turned, I found another Blackberry bush, hips and haws ripening or branches dripping with Sloes (I’ll come back next month  for them to make sloe gin).

path-cossington

Lots of berries looked a bit small and hard, but after the rain they’ll soon become plump and juicy. I found a spot where the berries were ripe for the taking, I’d beaten the Blackbirds too. I managed to pick just enough berries to make a large tart, getting scratched in the process. (No pain no gain, long sleeves would be a good idea when wrestling with Brambles). If you pick a lot, you’ll need to use them or eat them quickly as they go mouldy pretty fast, but they do freeze really well. Just rinse them, drain until dry and divide into small sealable freezer bags for use when you’ve got time.

bramble-2If you want some inspiration for what to do with your berries there’s a great new book from the girls at ‘Wild at Heart’ called ‘The Hedgerow Cookbook’. They share my feelings on foraging, only bothering with things that you can turn into sauces, jellies, salads, cakes and puddings that taste genuinely great.
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They have a recipe for a wild raspberry tart – their take on a Bakewell and it looked so lovely I thought I’d see if it worked with my haul of Blackberries. (You can also try the recipe with plums, cherries, blueberries etc.)

I’m pleased to say it did. Swapping the raspberries for blackberries Resulted in the perfect balance of sweet Almonds and sharp Blackberries. It was also surprisingly easy, even making the pastry, although I guess you could use shortcrust ready to roll pastry if you like.

How to make Blackberry Frangipane tart:

Pastry:
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 3/4 oz cold cubed butter
1 1/2 oz cubed lard

To make the pasty rub the ingredients to fine breadcrumbs by hand, then add 1tbsp of water at a time mixing/cutting in with a knife until it forms a course crumb. Form a ball with your hands and roll out thinly to cover an 11″ tart dish. Place this into the fridge to chill for 15 minutes after pricking the base all over with a fork. Once chilled bake for 15 minutes at 200C.

Filling:
4 oz softened butter
4 oz caster sugar
2 eggs
6 oz ground almonds
3 drops of almond essence
1 tsp baking powder
10 oz blackberries {raspberries or other fruit}

Beat the sugar and butter together, then beat in the eggs a bit at a time. Mix in the baking powder and fold in the almonds and essence with a metal spoon. Once cooked let the pastry cool slightly before filling with the mixture. Cover with blackberries, leaving gaps between the fruit and poke the berries down into the mix. Bake for 30-40 minutes at 180C until golden brown. (If it looks like it’s going to dark cover with foil for the rest of the bake.) Poke a skewer into the centre and if it still sounds noisy give it a little longer in the oven. Once cooked, sprinkle with a little icing sugar and serve with cream or ice cream, I like it best while it’s still slightly warm.

This tart looks and tastes great and holds it’s shape if you’re taking it to a friend’s house.

blackberry-frangipane

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