Generally speaking I’m not too fussed about smoothies. I love fruit so eating it never feels like a chore and I also think that eating it rather than drinking it makes me feel more full (and therefore a lot less likely to reach for less […]
After so many years away I’d forgotten how erratic the weather during British springtime can be. It actually snowed on my birthday last week. Snow in April. In the (almost) South West of England. Crazy. Admittedly it was quite sleety and only lasted for about 20 minutes but I think you get my point. We’ve had a few days of glorious warmth and sunshine too mind you. It just can’t seem to make up its mind.
So I don’t know if I should be making hearty warming food or lighter spring flavours. I’m in quite a pickle! Hence this pie, which is a mix of orchard fruits and summer berries and is equally delicious served hot or cold. The buttery, flaky, lemon infused pastry is really delicious and the fruit combine really well for both flavour and texture.
The amount of apples and pears that you’ll need really depends on how deep your pie dish is, mine is very deep so you may not need quite as much filling as I did. There should be plenty of pastry here to make a full top and bottom crust if you don’t like the idea of fiddling around with a lattice top.
300g plain flour
175g fridge-cold butter
pinch of salt
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
zest of 1 lemon
4-5 dessert apples
2 tbsp cornflour
4 tbsp sugar
pinch of salt
1 beaten egg and white sugar to finish off
Cut the cold butter into small pieces and gently rub it into the flour with the tips of your fingers, until it resembles bread crumbs. Mix through the ginger, lemon zest, salt and sugar with a fork. Use just enough cold water to bring the mixture together to form a soft ball of dough. I usually find 4-5 tbsp is enough. Flatten the ball of dough a little and wrap it in cling film. Pop it in the fridge to chill and relax for at least 30 minutes but you can leave it over night if you need to.
Pre-heat your oven to 220°c and lightly grease a 20cm pie tin.
Take the pastry from the fridge and cut off about a third of it. Roll the larger piece out so that it’s a few millimetres thick and large enough to line the pie tin. Do this either on a lightly floured surface or on a piece of parchment paper. I prefer to do it this way as it makes it easier to transfer it to the tin later.
Carefully place the rolled pastry into the pie tin and gently push it into the corners. Leave a little over hang at the edge.
Peel, core and slice the apples and pears quite thinly. Whisk together the sugar, salt and cornflour in a large bowl and then toss the fruit, including the berries, into this. Tip the fruit into the lined tin and spread it out.
Roll out the remaining dough, again so that it is a few millimetres thick and a little larger than the size of the pie. If you want to do some fancy cut outs on the top of the pie then now is the time to do it. Brush the edge of the pie with a little of the beaten egg and carefully place on the lid. Gently push it down around the edges to seal the pie. Trim and crimp the edge however you like. Add any extra pastry embellishments you like (made from any leftover scraps of pastry), using the beaten egg as a glue. Brush the whole pie with beaten egg and sprinkle with a little sugar. Bake the pie for 45 minutes, until the fruit is tender and the pastry is golden brown. If your pastry starts to brown too much during baking then just cover the top of the pie with a piece of kitchen foil.
Leave the pie to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving so that the juices can thicken.
My oh my! What a pud this is! You can keep your fancy tubs of ice cream, I’ll have this please. Home made ice cream always tastes so much more wonderful than anything you buy, no matter how much money you spend on it and this is no exception.
The custard ice cream is so rich and creamy and full of vanilla and the blackberries are rich and jammy. There’s also a little bit of crunch from the crisp nuggets of meringue hiding inside. If you feel like spoiling someone (or just yourself) make them this.
Obviously you can use bought meringues in this if you’re short on time but because I never waste anything if I can help it, I use the spare egg white to make mine. You just need 50g of sugar per white, here are some recipes to help.
300ml double cream
150ml whole milk
1 egg yolk
1 ½ tbsp cornflour
1 tsp vanilla paste
1 tbsp sugar
3-4 meringue nests or meringue made from the extra egg white
Kick things off by making the base for the ice cream. Put 150ml of the cream in a saucepan along with the milk and gently warm them. Don’t let them get too hot.
Place the egg and egg yolk in a large mixing bowl and sprinkle in the sugar, cornflour and vanilla paste. Whisk this until it is very thick, pale and fluffy.
Whilst still whisking this add the warm milk/cream in a slow, steady stream. Make sure that you keep it all moving to prevent it from curdling. Rinse out the pan and then put the custard mixture back into it and set it over a low heat. Stir the custard continuously until has become quite smooth and thick and then leave it to cool.
Make the blackberry swirl by mixing together the fruit and the sugar in a small pan. Put it over a low heat to warm so that the fruit releases its juices. Crush the berries with a fork and let it bubble for a few minutes so that it thickens slightly. Push the fruit through a sieve over a small bowl to leave you with a thin puree. Let this cool.
By now the custard should have cooled down too. Softly whip the remaining cream in a large bowl and then combine this with the custard. Put this into an ice cream maker and churn it until it has the texture of soft serve ice cream. If you don’t have an ice cream maker then put it in the freezer and beat it every so often to break up the ice crystals. Don’t let it freeze too firmly though.
To assemble the terrine line a loaf tin (or something similar) with cling film and pour in half of the ice cream. Spread this around and then drizzle over half of the blackberry puree. Marble the two together. Break up the meringue and spread this over the ice cream and top it with the rest of the ice cream. Marble through the last of the blackberry puree too. Cover the top of the terrine with several layers of cling film and then put it in the freezer for several hours to firm up.
To serve the terrine simply peel the clingfilm from the top and then invert the tin onto a plate. The tin should easily slide off and then you can peel away the remaining clingfilm before decorating with a few extra blackberries and some mint leaves.
In spite of a few chilly dull days when we first arrived back in Britain we do actually seem to be having summer here. Well as much of a summer as the UK ever has, and very pleasant it is too.
The regular doses of sunshine seem to be encouraging the blackberries to ripen a bit earlier than usual. I love blackberry picking. I know I’ve mentioned it before, it’s not just because it reminds me of my Grandma, although that is part of why I love it. What I really like is the fact that these crazy straggly bushes which grow like weeds become a mass of rich, sweet, dark purple, delicious fruit at the end of summer. There’s a footpath by my house where if you catch the season right you can gather bowls full of them (as long as you’re prepared to risk the odd prickle!) You can probably expect more blackberry recipes on here before the foraging season is out.
This is such a lovely cake. Very tasty served plain as a teatime treat or delicious gussied up with some creme fraiche as a dessert. It’s soft and light and moist and flavourful. The sponge itself isn’t too sweet and the blackberries keep it in check with their fruity sharpness whilst the crunchy crumble topping is rich and buttery. Don’t be scared of the basil in this either, it works just as well in sweet dishes as savoury ones, although you can of course leave it out if it doesn’t float your boat.
This is the first recipe that I’ve created since we’ve moved back, in my old kitchen, which remains half unpacked and I was a bit nervous about it. I expected to have to make some tweaks here and there to account for now unfamiliar makes of ingredients and a different oven. But amazingly, and this may be more luck than skill, this recipe turned out perfectly first time! It certainly reminded me why I love this blogging mullarkey.
60g plain flour
pinch of salt
zest of an orange
pinch of salt
150g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
60g fat free Greek yoghurt
2 tbsp milk
big handful of basil leaves
130g (ish) blackberries (washed)
Pre-heat your oven to 180°c and grease and line a spring-form or loose-bottomed cake tin.
Put all the ingredients for the crumble topping into a bowl and gently rub them together with your finger tips to combine them so that they look like breadcrumbs. Put this in the fridge for later.
Cream together the butter, salt and sugar until they are quite fluffy. Beat the eggs into this, one at a time, following each one with a spoonful of flour to prevent them from curdling. Sift in the remaining flour along with the baking powder, to ensure that they are well blended and then briefly beat the mixture to combine everything.
Mix through the yoghurt and then the milk, to loosen the batter.
Slice the basil into fine slivers and then fold this and the blackberries through the cake mixture. I like to keep a few berries back to push into the top of the cake just before baking.
Scrape the cake batter into the prepared tin and smooth off the top a bit. Scatter over the crumble topping and then gently push any berries that you have left into the surface of the cake.
Bake the cake for 45 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Leave it to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes and then transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely.