I don’t appreciate paying for blackberries. At this time of year, when they’re to be had in parks and by railway lines for only the price of a few scratches, paying £3 for a couple of boxes seems perverse. And the berries you get are always oddly large and eerily identical. I am easily swayed though and one look at the recipe for this gloriously purple tart (from Olive magazine again) was enough to make me forget my principles and send me straight to Sainsburys.
Principles wise I also failed to make my own pastry, even being so lazy as to buy the ready rolled stuff (which in its defence was actually quite good, since it’s rolled out evenly you get a good thin, uniformly crisp pastry case. Nonetheless. Lazy.)
So first, either make and roll out 350g of shortcrust pastry, or open your box. Drape the pastry over a flan dish and roughly trim the edges. You don’t want to trim it all the way back since it’ll shrink when its cook. Cover with clingfilm and chill in the fridge for half an hour while you preheat the oven to 180C. Then lightly prick the bottom of the pastry with a fork and blind bake for 15 minutes (covered in baking paper, shiny side down with some pasta or dried beans to weight it down. I have a tub of dried pasta saved for this purpose, proper porcelain baking beans can be had).
Now you can trim the edges right down, then remove the paper and weights and cook for another 10 minutes until the pastry is completely dried out.
For the filling, cook 300g of blackberries with a splash of water until they start to break down. Then pass them through a sieve to get rid of the pips, which is not as easy it sounds. Quite a lot of elbow grease was involved. Add the juice of a lime to the puree you end up with. Beat together a 397g tin of condensed milk with three egg yolks for two to three minutes, then add the puree (which will be cool because it took you so long to sieve it). Beat again, then pour into the tart tin and cook for another 15 minutes. It should still be a little wobbly in the centre when it comes out of the oven, as long as the top is dry and the edges starting to puff up, it’s done. It’ll set further as it cools, and even more if you leave it in the fridge overnight (we were not so patient).
I have since ventured up to Hampstead Heath and was handsomely repaid in plump juicy blackberries (and superficial flesh wounds) which are now stored in the freezer, for at least one more go at this and probably to go in a crumble, because the world can never have enough crumble.