Last week, armed with cute wellies and baskets we set off to the woods. There were some wild raspberries to be had and plenty of bilberries, you know, the smaller but tastier cousin of the blueberry. Or as some might call it, the European wild blueberry.
Warning! Fire hazard. On the right you can see the firebreak, a barrier to stop the progress of a wildfire. Seems a bit neglected though.
Bilberry and marzipan tartlet and bilberry pies
Makes one 16cm tartlet and four 8cm pies.
1 tbsp sugar
pinch of salt
In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt and vanilla.
Cut butter into small cubes and rub into the flour until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add about two teaspoons of cold water and mix the dough until it comes together.
Flatten into a disk and let rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
For the tartlet:
about 250g bilberries
1 tbsp sugar
Take about one-third of the dough and roll into a 20cm circle. Butter the sides and base of a 16cm round tin and sprinkle with a bit of ground almonds or flour, but best to use a tin with a removable base.
Ease the pastry into the tin, making sure the sides are all neat and even, trim if necessary. If there is a tear or two, just patch it up with extra dough.
Now take the marzipan and roll it into a 16cm disk, a slim flat circle that you will place on the bottom of the pastry.
Pour the custard on top and pop the tin into a 180C oven for about 10-15 minutes.
Carefully take the tin out of the oven and top it with bilberries. Make sure there are plenty because they will collapse a little during heating. Sprinkle with sugar and place back into the oven for about 10 minutes. Now, if you like, you could use a blowtorch to caramelise the top.
For the pies:
1 tbsp cornflour
2 tbsp Framboise
Gently heat half of the bilberries with Framboise and cornflour until some of the berries start to break down. Add the rest of the bilberries to the mixture. Set aside to cool.
Take the other two-thirds of the dough and roll it out as thinly as possible. Cut out four 12cm circles and place them inside four pie rings or tins. Trim the excess. Fill the pies with bilberry mixture. If you happen to have any custard left over, add a spoonful to each pie. Now take all the leftover dough and roll it out again, cutting out four 10cm circles to cover the pies. Pinch the edges together and trim. Cut a hole in each of the pastry lids, to let the steam escape. Bake in the oven for about 15 - 20 minutes.
3 egg yolks
1 vanilla pod
Whisk egg yolks to ribbon consistency. Heat milk with scraped vanilla pod and sugar until scalding. Pour hot milk onto the egg yolks, whisking continuously. Tip back into the saucepan and cook over a very low heat (or bain marie) until starting to thicken. Pour into a bowl, cover and leave to cool.