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
- 4-6 large Bramley cooking apples.
- Handful of Blueberries or Blackberries (quickly rinse in cold water)
- 1lb/450gm plain flour8oz/225gm chilled butter (preferable to margarine).
- 2 oz/50gm sugar (or caster sugar or icing sugar) - optional if sweet pastry desired - otherwise omit.
- 1 egg - optional if you want rich shortcrust pastry - otherwise omit.
- A few tablespoons of cold water to bind.
- Add butter to flour, chop up with knife and rub in with fingers to crumbly texture.
- Add sugar and egg (if using) and water to bind stiffly.
- Minimally handling, knead lightly on floured worktop/table.
- 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).
- Sprinke flour on pastry base in pie dish.
- Fill pastry base with sliced peeled cooking apples and a handful of Blueberries or Blackberries.
- 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!
- Roll enough pastry to cover the tart and cut pattern by using the template.
- 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.
- Flute pastry edges with fingers or use fork to decorate edges.
- 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!