It’s so common in the UK to see apples and blackberries together. They’re kind of a perfect combination. Alone, they’re great, but together, there’s this magical alchemy that makes you wonder if there maybe is some kind of design behind this whole existence thing. Yeah, I know… the human body is amazing, the complexities of the universe are beyond comprehension, blah blah blah. The things that make me wonder about what’s out there are food combinations; words being pieced together just-so; and colours.
Of course, it might be because it reminds me of my youth. Of picking blackberries by the side of the road, and apples from the apple tree in the garden. Of the nights getting longer. Which, in Glasgow, by the way, means getting dark before 4pm. Of walking to the school bus in the dark in the mornings. Of cold feet. And cold toes. Cold feet. I wonder what came first: the idiom or the character trait. Or maybe one day, somebody was on her way to her wedding, and her feet got so cold that she just couldn’t bring herself to go any further, and she ran all the way back home to put on some thick wooly socks and to sit in front of the fire grilling hot buttered toast on a cast iron poker while the snow fell and while her husband-to-be got increasingly nervous. I wonder if a messenger ran back to the wedding to call “Wedding’s off– the lady got cold feet.” and if that was that.
Or maybe it’s something easier. Maybe somebody was going to go swimming, but upon dipping his toes in, decided not to. “Why didn’t you swim, boy?” “Because I got cold feet, sir!” And once again, that was that. This is what I think about while I’m peeling apples. While my feet are wrapped in thick wooly socks. While a batch of lemon marmalade stews away on the stove. While the rain pelts the awning and the crack under the back door lets in that chilly air, and while Oliver the girl-cat winds herself around my [not so cold] ankles.
And I was going to make a caramel-apple tart. But I changed my mind. I had blackberries and I was nostalgic, and…
I don’t know how I’ll ever beat this.
Crispy flaky tart crust with tart apple and little explosions in your mouth of blackberry.
This tart was perfect. Even with a gluten-free crust (which, by the way, the neighbours, who got half of it, couldn’t believe was gluten-free after they’d finished it and I told them).
Apple and Blackberry Tart
3 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into thin slices
Sugar, for dusting
Preheat oven to 350.
Roll out the pastry, and line the bottom of a 9″ tart pan. Lay out the apple slices in concentric circles, to cover the bottom of the tart. Evenly place the blackberries on top (or do as I do and dump them and they’ll roll all over the place evenly distributing themselves).
With the remaining dough, cut into strips, and lay out five strips all facing in one direction on top of the tart. Lay out 6 facing in the opposite direction, and then weave them, carefully. Pinch off the edges to seal.
Beat the egg, and brush it over the pastry. Dust the tart generously with sugar, and place in the freezer for approximately 20 minutes.
Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and you can’t restrain yourself any longer.