Saturday, February 6, 2010

Apple Tart - musings on a theme

I know I already have an Apple Tart recipe posted here from last year. This is a slight twist on that theme as I added blueberries. Blackberry and apple is another more common blend but is limited by the short season unless you freeze your blackberries (as I did last year she said smugly!) for use throughout the year. Pics of both are shown - should be easy to tell apart!

So I got this lovely pie template from Jany and Shayne for Christmas and this was the result the first time I used it. It gives a lovely quirky topping with either hearts or a nice lacy doily-type design. I usually do open tarts with a lattice design so this is another variation. This template came from TK Maxx which I thought was a clothing discount store but they evidently do homewares as well. I can't resist these shops as I am a bit of a gadget junkie, and invariably get something that's a must-have in the shop however little use it'll get once in the kitchen!

I got this aesthetically lovely timer from Ikea from a friend I took there one day, and love how it looks, although its practicality is dubious as I not really a timer person, preferring to look and check the food. Also, my oven has a timer which I've never really learnt to programme; having mastered the digital clock I felt that was enough technology for one appliance! My microwave died five years ago and hasn't been replace - I have never missed it, though there are odd grumblings at kids unable to instantly reheat dinners or defrost something last minute.

I am probably old-fashioned regarding cooking and baking - I like steaming and pressure cooking some things, but generally a beef stew or curry that's been simmering for about 4-5 hours on a low heat on the stove-top is the best. Slow cooking is much less suspect than something that's been fast-tracked in a microwave where I can't figure out how the heck that happens without major structural damage to the food, whereas the rationale behind slow cooking is perfectly logical. I'm happy to stay a Luddite in the kitchen, and leave the molecular gastronomy to the Adriá Ferráns and Heston Blumenthals of this world in their lab-kitchens in El Bulli in Catalunya and The Fat Duck in Bray (England, not Co. Wicklow!).

Paradoxically, I do love my kitchen machine though, and you can see the lovely crumbly pastry the food processor part makes. Perfect pastry with no sticky fingers!

How did I end up there? Back to apple tart with blueberries - here's the recipe and enjoy the end product. I will post it over on my very own Facebook group - Cakes, Bakes and Tasty Treats - and for those of you who haven't yet signed up please do so - the group has grown in recent weeks since I reactivated it.

Apple and Blueberry (or Blackberry) Tart

  1. 4-6 large Bramley cooking apples.
  2. Handful of Blueberries or Blackberries (quickly rinse in cold water)
  3. 1lb/450gm plain flour8oz/225gm chilled butter (preferable to margarine).
  4. 2 oz/50gm sugar (or caster sugar or icing sugar) - optional if sweet pastry desired - otherwise omit.
  5. 1 egg - optional if you want rich shortcrust pastry - otherwise omit.
  6. A few tablespoons of cold water to bind.
  1. Add butter to flour, chop up with knife and rub in with fingers to crumbly texture.
  2. Add sugar and egg (if using) and water to bind stiffly.
  3. Minimally handling, knead lightly on floured worktop/table.
  4. Roll out enough pastry to cover large (10 inch/26cm diameter or smaller pie dishes if you prefer -makes 1 large or 2 small tarts).
  5. Sprinke flour on pastry base in pie dish.
  6. Fill pastry base with sliced peeled cooking apples and a handful of Blueberries or Blackberries.
  7. Add enough sugar to sweeten apples - I sprinkle a generous amount to cover the apples like snow - see photo! - if you don't want a tart tart!
  8. Roll enough pastry to cover the tart and cut pattern by using the template.
  9. Lift the cut pastry top carefully with the rolling pin and place on top of fruit - use water on edges to stick pastry top to base.
  10. Flute pastry edges with fingers or use fork to decorate edges.
  11. Bake in top half of pre-heated oven (190 degrees Centigrade/375 degrees Fahrenheit) until golden brown, then move to lower half, reduce heat and bake for another 15-20 mins., totally about 35-40 mins.

Enjoy with a cup of tea and a nice dollop of ice cream or whipped cream. Total indulgence for a cold winter's day!


Stephanie V said...

Nice recipe. I think it'll be good for a weekend dessert. Adding blueberries gives a bit of mellowness to the apple tart, I think. Both combinations - well, anything with apple - are great.
I like gadgets, too. Is it possible to be a gadget-loving Luddite? I do know what you mean!
Your post made me remember my all-time favorite fruit pairing: red currant and blueberry jelly. Not enough currants so I topped up with blueberries. It was wonderful. And never duplicated.

Rudee said...

Oh my! This looks gorgeous.

One question...for step 11, what temp do you lower the oven to after the initial baking?

We have a TJ Maxx locally, so I'm going to go look for one of those templates. They make such a beautiful work of art out of the dough.

Although I have a good food processor, I love making pie doughs by hand using old fashioned French technique. I'll try yours both ways, though.

Thanks for the recipe, Catherine! As usual, your baked goods are just stunning. If you ever decide to change your profession, I think you could open your own bakery.

Jeannette StG said...

Looks delicious Catherine, especially with the hearts on top! We are not losing you to Facebook, do we? Just kidding (I'm the only one in our fam. who isn't!)

Irene said...

Patient people make pies. I'm an impatient person. My pie would not turn out well. Something, somewhere in the process would go wrong. I sure appreciate the fact that you do it so well. I wish I could taste it.

FoodFunFarmLife said...

Oh, this looks soooo delicious - a great combination of fruit, too ! I love the top - so pretty :)

Ann said...

Delicious looking pies. My children used to love picking blackberries. They used to eat more than they collected, so we didn't have the big a jam bonanza we should have. Going by the state their cloths, fingers and mouths were in.

Gunn said...

That made me hungry!!:-)
Nice blog you have.
I will be back....
Greetings from Gunn in Stavanger.

Catherine said...

Thanks for all the comments - I have been slow to respond as we are on tenterhooks waiting for baby news - should happen today or tomorrow - so I have been busy!

Catherine said...

Stephanie V - that sounds delicious, redcurrant and blueberry. I hope we get redcurrants this year - we have a bush but last year the birds got there first! I think what you call jelly we call jam or do you mean jelly-like jam with the seeds sieved out? We have a lot of apple jelly here which is clear and gorgeous looking. I do think you can be a gadget-loving luddite - though I love computers, iPods and touchscreen mobile phones, I am a bit of a Luddite in many ways - especially the microwave end of things! Hope you enjoyed baking the tart! (I posted it on the Facebook group I referred to in the post here) - join up if you are on Facebook!

Catherine said...

Rudee - thanks for the compliments - no plans to change careers yet,maybe in retirement I'll start a cake stall in the Farmers' Market!
To answer your query - sorry 'bout the omission but in step 11 heat is reduced to 150degrees Centigrade or 300degrees Fahrenheit. I notice my Culiverter converter on the sidebar seems dead so I used my phone to convert for me!
Haven't been to a TK Maxx yet myself but will check one out when I get a chance - I love things like the template and got some silicone baking things lately which I will write about one day!

Catherine said...

Jeannette - No you aren't losing me to Facebook - I am already well established there and enjoy both equally - Facebook is more for day to day contact and this for nice postings! I like the Cakes group on Facebook as it gives me another audience for my bakes. You should join your family and start Facebooking - slightly addictive but fun!

Catherine said...

Irene - I'm sure you could find the patience to make pies and tarts - it's not that bad! Hope you enjoyed reading about it anyway even if you don't fancy making it. Thanks for joining the Facebook group by the way!!
Talk to you again - have been very bad at visiting/commenting on other blogs lately -too much going on!

Catherine said...

Lynda - yes the template makes the top so nice, should try it for Valentine's day next Sunday - but hubby doesn't have a sweet tooth sadly! So I will just comfort eat it myself!!Hope you're well, I drop by your blog from time to time but not as often as I'd like, still I think I've kept pace with your posts -as ever, inspirational!

Catherine said...

Ann - is your neck of the woods blackberry heaven too? I wrote last year about all the great blackberrying I did out in Helvick and the many pots of jam that resulted. I still have some though I gave most away. Yes very tempting for kids to eat more than they save for jam - we could sell them as kids and that was a great incentive not to eat them. Do you bake much yourself or do you have time? You sound like you have a busy life too!

Catherine said...

Gunn - welcome to my blog! I hope you join as a follower, I have looked at your blog with lovely photos of Norway and Stavanger, a place I only ever heard of as I haven't been to Norway (yet!). Enjoy the blog and glad you like the post and the tarts!

Ann said...

Hi Catherine, No I was referring to when we lived in Ring. Children would take there buckets and go off collecting the berries and come home all stained and happy. no wild blackberries here, or at least I haven't found any.

tinyskillet said...

I like your twist on the apple tart! The templates are fantastic, I need to find some. I love gagets too and TJMaxx is a perfect place to find stuff like that.

Catherine said...

Thanks Lyndsey - why don't you follow my blog if you like recipes as I try to post fairly frequently? I had a look at your Aqua Sunday one and it looks fun! I just signed up to follow it and see the link to your food blog too - so please welcome to mine! glad you like the gadgets - so do I.
All the best, Catherine