Today, we have a guest post from The Gin Baker, who describes himself as on ‘the passionate pursuit of perfected gin baking’ – we knew we were going to get on straight away! Over to Liam…
There is no escaping it, autumn is officially upon us and it won’t be long until the shops start forcing Christmas upon us. Not that I mind entirely, after all Christmas is a celebration that involves all of my favourite things – family, food and booze! Before I completely digress into winter though, we have a few golden months of autumn that are also worth embracing.
Autumn is the peak season for blackberries and for me that is enough reason for celebration. These glossy black fruits actually make a pleasant change from strawberries and the other summer fruits which are now slowly disappearing from the hedgerows. As the blackberries swell and ripen, they become slightly sweeter which makes them perfect for crumbles, tarts and pies.
Now when it comes to developing recipes, very often a recipe idea will pop into my head and I slowly start to obsess over it. This recipe is one that has been itching away in the back of my mind for a few weeks now but I knew I needed to wait for blackberries to fully ripen to do this bake the justice it deserves. Also, it’s pastry week on Great British Bake Off which was also a great reason to finally bake this tart.
The inspiration for the tart actually came after a gin tasting session where I was introduced to the delectably fruity taste of Brockmans Gin which makes use of some peculiar botanicals including blackberries and blueberries. This is an incredibly smooth gin which has the perfect balance of sweetness and dryness and with its bright and robust fruity flavours, I was instantly inspired to create this Dark Berry Tart.
Loaded with blackberries, blueberries and mint, this is the perfect bake to say goodbye to summer and welcome autumn with open arms.
For this bake, you will need:
For the pastry:
100g plain flour
50g of icing sugar
50g unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
1 large egg yolk
1 tbsp of cold water
For the filling:
450g of blackberries
450g of blueberries
400ml of water
Juice of 1 lime
4 tbsp of caster sugar
4 gelatine leaves
5 mint leaves
150ml of Brockmans Gin
For your pastry, combine your flour and sugar in a bowl and then add your butter. Using your fingers, gently rub the butter into the flour and sugar until you have what resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add your egg white and water and mix until it comes together to form a firm dough. If your dough is too wet, add a little flour until it no longer sticks to the side of the bowl. Cover with cling film and rest in the fridge for half an hour.
Preheat your oven to 200ºC and dust your work surface with flour. Roll out your pastry into a circle with the thickness of a £1 coin and about 5cm larger than your flan tin. Gently lift the pastry and line your flan tin. Trim off any excess pastry and prick the base of your pastry with a fork.
Line the pastry case with parchment paper or foil and fill with baking beans or rice. Bake the pastry blind for about 12 minutes, or until just slightly golden-brown. Remove from the oven and remove the paper and baking beans. Place back in the oven and bake for a further 5-7 minutes or until pale golden-brown and dried out. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
To make your tart filling, separate your gelatine leaves and place them in a bowl of cold water and leave to stand. In the meantime, place your blackberries, blueberries, mint, water and sugar in a large pan and set over a medium heat. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to simmer. Leave to simmer for between 45 minutes – 1 hour or until the fruit has broken down into a sauce.
Place a sieve over a bowl and strain the mixture. Don’t press the mixture as this will make your jelly cloudy. Once all the liquid has drained through, discard the fruit pulp and mint leaves and place the collected liquid into a clean pan.
Gently cook over a low heat then whisk in the gelatine and water, making sure you dissolve any lumps. Remove from the heat and then add the gin. Leave to cool for about half an hour, stirring every ten minutes, and then pour the mixture into your pastry case.
Place in the fridge and leave to set overnight. Decorate with blackberries, blueberries and mint leaves with a dusting of icing sugar.