Sunday, 22 September 2013

Apple and Blackberry Cobbler

Last year my apple trees produced six apples, six, and I made a few jars of a lovely spiced apple pickle and a delicious apple and cardamom tart. This year is a different story, there are literally hundreds of apples, it's all the apple trees can do to stay upright they are so weighed down by their crop. It's been a bumper year for apples I understand, perfect apple weather all year; it's definitely nothing I have done, they have just multiplied, a lot... I'm still not quite sure what I'm going to do with them all; but I began with a cobbler...

We spent the morning frantically tidying the allotment after an incoming warning email expressing concerns over the standard of care that my allotment is receiving ... oh dear... We've even been better this year, grown more, been there more, made paths and new beds, but a few weeks of neglect whilst on holiday and general life stuff has seen the grass grow about two feet, the beans fall over in the wind, every weed go wild, so you can't even see most of the plants. We have made a vague fight back with a strimmer and lots of weeding, but it's quite a task.

I love an apple and blackberry crumble, my granny was famous for them, I think she made them for every family get together for about twenty years, until someone dared to say they might like something different and she went on crumble strike for ever more, we ate lemon syllabub for every meal from then on, and no one made any more comments... A cobbler is a kind of crumble that came about in the Second World War as they use lots of filling but less butter and topping than a traditional crumble, they are essentially lots of little biscuits joined together to form a crust. Delicious little lemony biscuits...

This is a St John recipe, from their book Beyond Nose to Tail, and it serves 6. If you start with the pastry so it can chill in the fridge for a while. Use a big bowl and combine 225g of self raising flour and 100g of unsalted butter cut into little cubes, rub the butter into the flour until it is like breadcrumbs. Then add 50g of caster sugar, the juice and zest of half a lemon and a lightly beaten egg. Mix it all together into a dough and add a little milk to make a soft dough, I only needed a tablespoon or so. Wrap the dough in cling film and leave it in the fridge for 3-4 hours.

Then the apples, 6 cooking apples; peel, core and dice into small pieces and add to a pan with 50g of unsalted butter, 75g of brown sugar, the juice and zest of a lemon and cook on a gentle heat until soft. Remove them from the heat and stir in about 250g of blackberries. Put the fruit into a pie dish, and top with circles of the chilled pastry, either cut with a pastry cutter or rolled into balls and flattened. Finally brush the top with a beaten egg, sprinkle with brown sugar and bake at 180°C for 30 minutes.

The pastry 'biscuits' are delicious sweet and lemony, with soft stewed fruit melting into them, sweet apple and tangy ripe black berries. Serve with cream, crème fraiche or custard. A dead tasty autumn pudding.


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Happy cooking! Let me know if you make any of my recipes, send a picture, and let me know any of your own recipes and tips! Anna x