Blackberry tart

First published in Food

It’s well into the school holidays and you may be trying to find a way of passing a few hours with your younger family members, so why not take a walk in the country and pick a few blackberries from the hedgerows and then when you are back have a go at this recipe?

Blackberry tart For the sweet flan pastry: 125g unsalted butter, softened.

90g caster sugar.

1 large free-range egg.

250g plain flour.

For the filling: 250g mascarpone.

200ml crème fraîche (use low fat if you wish).

4 tbsp icing sugar.

Juice of 1 lemon.

Zest of 2 lemons.

To decorate: About 10 large basil leaves.

1 egg white, lightly beaten.

3-4 tbsp caster sugar, for dredging.

About 225g blackberries.

Icing sugar, for dusting.

Method 1. Make the pastry. Put the butter and sugar in a food processor and whizz until just combined. Add the egg and whizz for another 30 seconds. Finally, add the flour and pulse until the dough just comes together. Tip the dough on to a lightly floured surface and knead lightly into a smooth ball. Flatten the ball, wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the crystallised basil leaves. Preheat the oven to its lowest setting, about 110C/Gas 1/2. Dip the basil leaves in the egg white (try not to get it too thick) and coat with caster sugar. Place on a baking tray lined with baking parchment and put into the warm oven for about 30-40 minutes until the leaves have dried out.

3. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured board and use to line a 20cm tart tin. Make sure to gently press the pastry well into the edges of the tin and leave the excess pastry overhanging the sides. Chill for another 20 minutes.

4. Preheat the oven to 190C/Gas 5. Line the tart base with parchment paper and fill with baking beans or rice. Put the tart tin on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and return to the oven for another five minutes until the pastry is cooked through and there are no grey patches left. Allow to cool slightly, and then trim the pastry level to the top of the tin with a sharp knife.

5. Mix together all the ingredients for the filling. Taste to see if you need extra sugar or another squeeze of lemon juice. Pile the filling into the cooled pastry case and level the top with a spatula or palette knife. Arrange the blackberries over the top, then garnish with the basil.

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