Apple and Blackberry Tart

This recipe makes one teeny tart, but it’s easily scaled up to make a full size tart (see Footnotes). The combination of apples and blackberries is a classic, but you could have solely apple if you prefer.

If you like cloves and/or allspice, please do experiment with personalising this recipe to your own spice tastes.

Serves: 1

Ingredients
For the pastry:

  • 32g cold butter, cubed + additional to grease tin
  • 64g plain flour + additional for rolling
  • 16g icing sugar
  • 1 large egg (60-68g when weighed in the shell)

For the filling:

  • 1/2 lemon, juice only
  • 2 Cox’s apples
  • 3 dessert spoonfuls of molasses sugar (dark muscavado, or soft dark brown, can substitute)
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • A palmful of fresh, or frozen (defrosted), blackberries – optional
  • 4-5 fresh basil leaves, chopped – optional

Kit

  • A mini tart tin, round, loose-bottomed,
    10cm/4″ diameter and 3cm/1.25″ deep
  • 1 medium mixing bowl, and 3 small bowls
  • A food processor (if you don’t want to make the pastry by hand)
  • A large (eg. dessert) spoon
  • A rolling pin
  • A pastry brush
  • A palette knife
  • A vegetable peeler
  • A chopping board and a sharp knife
  • Cooling rack

Steps
Making the pastry:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C (160 C fan-assisted).
  2. Separate the egg into 2 small bowls, and beat each lightly.
  3. Butter your tin well.
  4. Measure the dry pastry ingredients in a small bowl and blitz in the food processor (or, rub with your fingers) to fine crumbs. Add the egg yolk in thirds, continuing to blitz, until it comes together – you may not use all the yolk if your egg is larger; or, you might need a teaspoon of cold water for a smaller egg.
  5. Turn out the pastry onto a floured surface and knead lightly into a flattened ball. Roll out quite thin, and leave 1/3 aside for the lattice. Work the pastry into the tin, pressing against the sides, and leave a short overhang all round. Put into the fridge to chill.
  6. {Now make the filling; see below}
  7. Take the tin out of the fridge, prick the pastry bottom all over with a fork, and brush the bottom with egg white. Bake for 11-13 minutes until the rim is quite tanned. If the bottom starts puffing up during baking, just re-stab it lightly with the fork all over. Take out of the oven when done and put on a cooling rack.
  8. Whilst the pastry’s baking, make at least 6 narrow slices from the remainder using a palette knife, for the lattice. (Having extra is good in case 1 or more strips break whilst placing.)
  9. Spoon the filling into the tin, using fruit chunks to fill to the rim, then spoon over the juices. Brush the rim with egg white, then make the lattice.
    See this video for detailed instructions on making a large lattice; for a small tart like this, these pictures show the sequence after placing a cross, plus a strip on either side of the centre ‘under’ strip: Just fold back 1/2 of the centre ‘under’ strip, place the cross strip, and fold over again.

  10. Tidy up the lattice, brush the tops with egg white, trim off all overhangs, then put the tart back in the oven for up to 15 minutes. The lattice should feel cooked to the touch, be nicely browned, and the rim shouldn’t be too dark.
  11. Let the tart cool in the tin before turning out. For a final garnish, spoon the remaining fruit juices into the lattice holes.

Making the filling:

  1. Juice half a lemon and put in a medium bowl. Peel, core, and chop the apples in small chunks, tossing with the lemon juice as you go. Put in a medium saucepan over a medium heat.
  2. Add the sugar and spices, and let it cook somewhat between a simmer and a boil for 5-6 minutes, stirring regularly, until the apple pieces are soft but not mushy.
  3. Take off the heat, and add the blackberries and basil (if using). Set aside whilst you go back to Pastry Step 7.

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry Ratios
To scale this up to a larger tin, just remember:
A) Icing sugar x 1
B) Cold butter x 2
C) Plain flour x 4

So, for a full-size (24-26cm / 9.5-10″) tin, you’ll need 50g icing sugar, 100g cold butter, and 200g plain flour. That size needs 3 large egg yolks; for tin sizes between that and this recipe, err on the side of more yolk as you can always stop adding when the pastry comes together.

Blind-Baking for Larger Tins
For any tin larger than this single-size, I recommend blind-baking with baking paper and baking beans/beads. Prick the bottom and sides of the chilled pastry with a fork, then place the paper and beads, and bake for at least 8 minutes. Remove the paper and beads, brush the bottom and sides with egg white, and continue baking for 4-5 more minutes.

Using Leftover Fruit
I found that 1 apple isn’t enough, but 2 is a bit more than 1 small tart needs. My tasters said something creamy on the side would be great, so I’d recommend whipping some double cream to soft peaks, whizzing the extra fruit with a stick blender in the pot, and folding together to create a fantastic fool as an acccompaniment.

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