Blackberry Tart with Mascarpone and Vanilla

It’s getting a little late now for foraging for blackberries, but if you are lucky enough to find some, or planned ahead and have a tub in the freezer, this is a simple and delicious dessert. it works just as well with raspberries, blueberries or plums.

I’m not one for desserts. You can probably guess that from the lack of sweet treats here, but this is irresistible. You may want to adjust the amount of caster sugar based on the sweetness and ripeness of your fruit.

1 x 375g pack of puff pastry
1 x 250 tub of mascarpone
4 tablespoons of caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
300g or thereabouts of berries of your choice
2 tablespoons demerara sugar

Pop the oven onto 220C

Roll out the pastry to about 5mm thickness (or use ready rolled). Line a tin with parchment and lay the rolled pastry on top. You want the pastry to be rectangular and fit the size of your tin. Now take a sharp knife and score around the perimeter, about 2cm in from the outer edge. Now pp it into the oven for around 8-10 minutes until puffed up but not browned.

Take out the oven and gently press down the middle area. Allow to cool.

Mix the mascarpone with the caster sugar and vanilla extract, then blod or gently smear over the middle of your part-cooked pastry. Top with the berries, then scatter the demerara sugar over. Pop back in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the edges are browned and the berries are starting to release their juices.

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A cake for late summer

I’m not one for cakes, but having had a bumper crop of raspberries this year I am running out of ideas. I’ve got jars and jars of jam, litres of raspberry vodka waiting patiently for Christmas to arrive and a freezer full of whole raspberries and coulis.

This is a very simple sponge recipe – the same one as in my apple cake – dolloped over late summer berries. In this version I used raspberries and blackberries, but you could use one or the other, or redcurrants, blueberries or even gooseberries.

Put the oven on to 180C and line the bottom of a 20″ – 24″ spring form cake tin with greaseproof paper or parchment. Scatter enough berries to cover the base of the tin. Sprinkle a tablespoon or so of demerera sugar over and the tiniest of splashes of vanilla essence.

Blend together 130g caster sugar and softened butter until pale and fluffy. Now beat in two medium free range eggs, then add 130g self raising flour and a teaspoon of baking powder for extra lift. if the mix is a little dry add a tiny splash of milk.

Spread the cake mixture carefully over the berries, then bake for 45-55 minutes. Allow to cool completely in the tin then turn out upside down on a plate. Alternatively you could serve warm with custard.

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Raspberry Crumble

From Simon Hopkinson’s The Vegetarian Option

To make 4 crumbles you will need:-

250g raspberries
3-4 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon butter

Take 4 ramekins and divide the raspberries equally. Sprinkle with sugar and dot with butter.

Then take:-
100g plain flour
50g butter
40g caster sugar

Mix together until you get a sandy mixture. Spoon over the top of the raspberries but do not press down. Then bake in the oven at 180C for 25 minutes or so until browned and bubbling.