Following on from the ‘Simple Blackberry Compote‘, we take the next reasonably logical step, the ‘Quick Blackberry Tart’. The Beach House is beginning to resemble mound of blackberries at the minute, our garden and the neighbouring horse fields are a sea of green with many purple patches. Forgive us for our bramble based indulgence, but they’re so tasty. It seems that horse muck is the ideal breeding ground for giant blackberries, although horse manure seems to benefit all plant life, our tomatoes definitely appreciate it. Even though our neighbouring horses are a little wild and aloof, we thank them for producing their fertile goods.
As with the compote, cooking rarely gets easier than this. Three ingredients and minimal fuss make this the perfect last minute/ lazy moment dessert. It is of course, greater than the sum of its parts and is one of those recipes that punches well above its weight (not sure if that analogy is particularly Beach House-ified!) I use frozen puff pastry for very obvious reasons, any brave soul who attempts to make their own puff pastry cannot be described as ‘lazy’ in anyway. Its quite a labour intensive process involving advanced folding and rolling techniques. I have made a type of parantha that is similar, but a parantha is a very forgiving format (like a fat flaky chappati). Puff pastry is something we have in the freezer and use when our folsk visit, they all seem to love a bit of crumbly dough. Dad is here at the minute and he approved of this tart, eating the leftovers for lunch which is not a bad sign.
The rowan jelly has been kicking around our fridge for a while and this tart is the perfect home for it. We have plenty of rowan berries and elderberries loitering around the Beach House and we are planning on a mass harvest very soon. Hopefully next year we’ll have homemade rowan berry jams to sample and probably whack in a cake/ tart.
There are so many differing ways that you can take this tart. The astringent rowan here works well with the sweet blackberries, our berries were very sweet and you may like to add a little more sweet jam/ jelly if you have a batch of more tart fruits. Once you’ve made the base, you choose the toppings. Something like a pizza desert. This recipe is simply what was to hand, seasonal and looking good. We’ve had it with apples and marmalade, strawberries and cashew cream, plums and star anise, pear and cinnamon, banana and custard……the list goes on. All of them simple and very quick to get together.
The pastry base is best blind baked, depending on the tart filling, the pastry may seem ever so slightly soggy in the very middle. It is cooked and is just a result of the liquid wetting the pastry and having something like a steaming effect. Think a Chinese dumpling as opposed to a pasty (like a Jamaican Pattie). The combination of soft middle and flaky outside only adds to the textural fun.
The Bits – For 4
250g block of puff pastry (frozen is much easier)
6 big handfuls of blackberries (or as needed)
4 tbs rowan jelly (or other fruit jam)
1-2 teas vegetable oil
On a lightly oiled surface, using a rolling pin, roll out your pastry in a roughly rectangular shape. Flipping it over a few times, whilst rolling, giving the pastry a good even thickness and light coating of oil.
Place on a baking parchment and give it another few rolls. Score a 1 inch border around the edge of the pastry by running the tip of a knife around. Cut roughly 1/2 way through the pastry with a sharp knife. Poke the base (not the border) a few times with a fork, this will lessen the rising.
Preheat an oven to 180oC and when warm, pop in the tart base bake for 12 minutes. Until lightly golden and well risen. Press the base of the tart down, leaving the border slightly raised. Spoon in and spread the jelly/ jam and scatter over a good layer of berries, packing them in tightly. Place back in the oven and bake for a further 15-20 minutes, until the border is dark and golden and the fruit is soft. Leave to cool for 10 minutes and serve warm. You know your oven, if its not a boss fan oven, then flip the tart around halfway through cooking to balance the bake.
Dad is here, we had custard!!! There is hardly any difference between normal custard and vegan custard, try making custard with almond milk, its extra yum!
Rowan berries grow all over the UK and can be seen a mile off due to their vivid red colour. These berries have long been regarded as fantastic for health; they boost the immune system, help the digestive system, prevent certain cancers and reduce bacteria infections. They also make a very tasty jam.
These little red suckers are packed full of vitamin C and fibre and also contain a very powerful blend of antioxidants (aka disease fighters).
Do not eat rowan berries without cooking or freezing them for a decent period of time, they are quite toxic. They contain what is called parasorbic acid, which is no good, but when heated or frozen this acid transforms into sorbic acid, which the body loves. Rowan berries are technically a ‘superfood’ that lives on our doorstep. They can also make for a potent and eye popping liqueur! (Isn’t that what they call the best of both worlds!!!?)
Rowan berries are one of the many hedgrerow goodies that seem to be overlooked. I don’t think it will be long until many more folk are out there at this time of year, harvesting the bounty of fruits and leaves that are springing out of our hedgrerows, many boasting fabulous health giving properties and a diversity of flavours and textures.