The two apple trees in the centre of the lawn are the heart and soul of our garden.
They are over half a century old, and they show their history- bark like an old man’s hands, moss, trunks leading to a hundred branches. As they have grown and developed, so has the life that they support.
Right now, the trees are at the best. Just as the first leaves are falling, the apples are ripening to emerald and crimson under the September sun.
Our crop of Discovery apples has been few, but the trees have been resting after their bumper crop last year. Just like us, sometimes the trees need to take a breather. And right now, in this brief September window, fruit trees and hedgerows are holding onto the produce of a years growth.
Just as the seasons change, I think the food on our plates should. These apple, blackberry and damson tarts are the kitchen’s idea of late summer and early autumn. All you need is some pastry, either shop bought or homemade (but whichever it is, all-butter), jam and fruit. And a spoonful of cinnamon. Each of the ingredients- damson jam, blackberries and the apples all offer sharpness as well as sweetness.
as usual- double flour to butter- 230g plain flour, 115g butter
30g caster sugar
a couple of handfuls of blackberries
jam- blackberry, blackcurrant, damson or plum would all work well
If you are making the pastry, rub the butter into the flour or whizz together in a processor.
When that’s done, add the sugar and just enough water to bring it together (about 2 tablespoons).
Put the dough in the fridge, ready to roll out when the fillings done. For that, heat the jam in a small pan and squeeze in half a lemon. Lastly, peel and roughly chop the apples and mix the berries, apples and jam in the pan.
Roll out the pastry into circles to match your tart tins or one big sheet, and then pour over the fillings. Bake until the pastry is browning around the edges.
We all hear the message to eat seasonal, eat local, to reduce our food miles. But eating this way, from the garden to plate, is the way things are meant to be.