It's been a delightfully busy summer so far. I ran my first patisserie course a few weeks ago in Yorkshire, which was a great success. I love teaching and am hoping to do more soon so watch this space.
I also gave a seminar to a group of school students at the Royal Institution; this was a dream come true to present in the same theatre as the iconic Christmas Lectures which are broadcast every year in the UK. I'm finding myself doing more and more science and engineering communication and I love it, especially when I get to combine it with baking.
Those of you who follow me on instagram may have seen my giddy excitement on my story last week as I discovered a HUMONGOUS blackberry bush hiding in the corner of the car park at work. I filled up my lunch tupperware with the treasure trove of brambles and felt like I'd struck gold.
This time of year is perfect for foraging as blackberries are coming into season slightly earlier than usual in a hedgerow near you. Take care to wash them thoroughly and pick from above waist-level to avoid any that may have been *ahem* "watered" by local wildlife.
This recipe was inspired by one on BBC Good Food that I've tweaked. I love it because it's so quick (45 minutes start to finish), minimum fuss and uses the best of our local seasonal fruit! I've used shop-bought shortcrust (shock horror) for speed but feel free to take time to make your own for extra bragging rights.
So get foraging, give this a go and let me know how you get on on twitter, instagram and facebook @cakesmyth x
Ingredients - makes 12 individual tarts
375g pack ready rolled shortcrust pastry
100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
100g caster sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp almond extract (for frangipane)
100g ground almonds
15g plain flour
140g blackberries (or around 50 blackberries if you're picking!)
30g flaked almonds
40g icing sugar
1/4 tsp almond extract (for icing drizzle)
Double cream, to serve (optional)
12-hole muffin tin, 9cm circular cutter or similar
Preheat the oven to 200 C / fan 180 C. Bring the pastry to room temperature then unroll onto a very lightly floured surface. Use a 9cm cutter (or cut around the rim of a pint class) to cut out 12 circles and press them gently into the muffin tin holes. Chill in the fridge while you make the filling.
Beat together the butter and caster sugar for about 5 minutes until pale and fluffy. Add the egg and 1/2 tsp almond extract and beat until well combined. Sieve in the ground almonds and flour then fold to incorporate.
Dollop a heaped tablespoon of the mix into each chilled pastry case and level off with a spoon. Press 4 blackberries into each case and sprinkle a few flaked almonds on top.
Bake in the middle shelf of the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the tins carefully and leave to cool on a wire rack.
For the icing drizzle, mix the icing sugar with 1/4 tsp almond extract and a few teaspoons of water and mix until is just a little runny and falls off the sppon easily. Drizzle over the bakewells. Serve with double cream if you're feeling indulgent!