Blackberries are versatile and delicious things. For me they’ve made star appearances as jewels, sprayed silver on macaron towers and more humbly been boiled down for jam for the base of mini ‘Blackberry Bakewell Tarts’ and transformed into into compote in a layered, ‘Blackberry, Limonchello Cream & Hazelnut Verrine.’ (Recipes here..)
If you’re planning on a spot of brambling this summer it’s wise to prep your bounty well; firstly, wash the blackberries thoroughly – the easy way to do this minus damage is to decant them into a colander then submerge in a bowl of cold water. A gentle swirl will suffice before draining the water which will be littered with hair-like fibres (and the odd bug) then repeat until clean. If you’re not using all the berries immediately, they freeze brilliantly. Lay them out on a tray in a single layer with enough space that they’re not touching and place in the freezer. After a few hours they can be decanted into a container for more compact storage.
RECIPE – Blackberry, Lime & Elderflower Tart
**If you’re making the pastry by hand or are a little unsure of some of the techniques involved, check out my previous post, ‘Sweet & Savoury Pastry Tips’. I tend to use the Magimix these days for making pastry as it’s so convenient..
250g plain flour
125g cold cubed butter
60g caster sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 egg, lightly whisked for eggwash
- Weigh the flour, sugar and salt together then sift into the processor bowl and add the cubes of butter. Process until the mixture forms crumbs then add the egg and pulse again until the dough just comes together. Turn it out onto a lightly floured board and shape the pastry into a disc. Wrap in clingfilm and rest for for 30 minutes in the fridge
- Grease an 8” tart tin before rolling out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to the thickness of a pound coin. Line the tin with the pastry, cover and again rest in the fridge for 20 minutes
- With the pastry trimmings cut out desired shapes and lay them on a lined baking sheet. Rest in the fridge and bake until golden while blind-baking the pastry
- Preheat the oven to 180′. Prick the chilled pastry with a fork, line with baking paper and fill with baking weights.
- Bake for 15 minutes then remove the paper and beads, brush with the egg wash to seal the pastry and bake for a further 5 minutes or until golden in the centre. Leave to cool before filling.
90g caster sugar
80g elderflower cordial
2 limes, zested
- Add the sugar, elderflower cordial and lime zest to a saucepan and stir over a medium heat until the sugar dissolves
- Add the blackberries and bring to the boil then strain, set the blackberries aside and return the blackberry liquid to the saucepan
- Boil the liquid gently until it’s reduced to a thick syrup. Take off the heat, add the blackberries then leave to cool completely
- Spoon the blackberries into the pastry shell and pour over some of the syrup. If using lay the pastry cut-outs on top of the blackberry mix and finish with a dusting of icing sugar. Serve with thick cream or ice-cream.