In the strange old world of the internet, it is a well known fact that people can be mean. Whether it’s a particularly aggressive youtube commenter or an opinionated butt on twitter, keyboard warriors are hard to avoid! However, there is also a corner of the internet full of nice people who are just going about doing their thang, not wanting to cause offence to anyone. These are the nice people who you can end up forming some sort of social media based friendship with! I’ve made myself a lovely internet pal, Juliet, who runs
Juliet Oscar Yankee
; “The magazine for grown up children”.
This month Juliet asked me to collaborate with her for issue #5 of the online magazine entitled The Beautiful Issue. I was asked to contribute a recipe that was beautiful to me and this Apple & Blackberry Mascarpone Tart was what I came up with. Now I am not going to take away from the JOY article, which you should read for yourself but I thought I would use this opportunity to tell you a little bit about how I come up with recipes and what inspires me. It’s a bit hard to know where to begin. Sometimes I will be either at this point, where I am writing up a post, or half way through making something and I suddenly realise I have no idea how I even came up with the thing I am making.
As with the recipe for this tart, many of my recipe ideas come about from seeing what seasonal fruit & veg is available. One of my guides as to what’s in season is the Waitrose Kitchen magazine. There’s usually a few pages dedicated to what’s in season, accompanied by recipes which help me along my way. I also have a few go to websites including,
BBC Good Food
. These both have sections dedicated to seasonal produce. Once I’ve established what’s in season, I then have a hunt through recipe books or a search on
to see what flavour combinations are used with those particular fruit & veg. Usually something will catch my eye and I will run with that, adapting the recipe to make it something drool worthy!
Now I can’t claim to always cook using seasonal ingredients, and this is down to one simple fact; you can get most things all year round. Sometimes it is hard to resist the odd strawberry here and there in the winter! Another way in which recipes begin to develop is through the browsing of twitter and foodgawker. Twitter is a great way to keep abreast of what’s going on in the food world as people from all over the world constantly sharing recipes and articles. Foodgawker is an old favourite of mine which I can spend hours and hours on. They have quite high standards when it comes to submissions they accept which means it’s an absolute treat to browse. All the photos are well taken, with the food well presented, it’s hard not to get hungry whilst having a peruse. Whilst we are on the subject, I’m proud to say I have had a few recipes accepted to be gawked at, check them out
So I usually see things on foodgawker that make my tummy grumble and decide that they must be made. Weirdly this often happens just before bed. My finally thoughts as I drift off to sleep are often of two things; 1) “what will I have for breakfast?” and 2) some great new recipe idea. I have my trusty little recipe book in which I jot down my ideas to then develop later.
There’s not really a set formula I use when it comes to creating recipes, as you can see! More often than not, it just happens!
I am keeping this post brief as the previous few have been a bit text heavy! This tart may be one of my best creations to date. A number of people have actually told me it’s the best thing I have ever made so you should probably try it out for yourself!
I got the recipe for the sweet shortcrust pastry from Paul Hollywood’s
Pie’s & Puddings book. I highly recommend it to anyone who is a bit uneasy when it comes to pastry as there are some lovely step by step pictures to help you.
Cooking Time: 1hr max (This prep time + 30 mins blind baking pastry)
Skill Level: You dough knead to be able to work with pastry (or buy some and then it’s super easy)
Large mixing bowl
25cm loose based tart tin
Baking beans/ uncooked rice
200g plain flour
2 tbsp icing sugar
100g cold unsalted butter (cubed)
1 medium egg (lightly beaten)
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp very cold water
(Or buy shortcrust dessert pastry and follow blind baking instructions)
250-300g cox’s apples
¾ tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp caster sugar
140g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
flour and icing sugar. Add butter and rub together until you have fine bread crumbs. Alternatively you can use a food processor! Mix together,
beaten egg, lemon juice and water. Make a well in the centre of the
flour mix and pour in wet ingredients. Using one hand, mix the incorporate the liquid into the flour to bring the pastry together. Once a dough begins to stick, gently knead into a ball. Add a little water if the dough is dry.
Cover in cling film and refrigerate for 15mins.
Preheat oven to
200c/180c fan/Gas 6. Whilst the dough is doing it’s thang, peel, core and thinly slice the
apples. Place in saucepan with a splash of
water, cinnamon and caster sugar. Mix. Half cover saucepan with lid and over a
medium heat stew the apples for 7mins. You want them to be soft but still have a bit of a bite. Remove from heat and cool completely. Remove chilled dough from fridge and on a lightly floured surface roll out pastry to about a 3mm thickness.
Line tart tin with rolled out pastry. Leave edges hanging over. Prick the base with a fork. Line with baking parchment and cover with baking beans or uncooked rice.
Blind bake for 15mins. Remove from oven, lift parchment and remove beans.
Bake for a further 8-10mins until pastry is
lightly coloured. Trim edges with a sharp knife and leave to cool. Line the tart with a single layer of
apples until the entire base is covered . You may have a few slices left over. Mix together
mascarpone, icing sugar and vanilla essence until combined. Dollop on top of
apples and spread. Arrange
blackberries on top of the mascarpone. Refrigerate or serve immediately!
WHAT CHEESE DO YOU USE TO HIDE A HORSE? MASCARPONE!