Blackberry Tartlets

Throughout September we have enjoyed spending a few of our mid mornings walking in the beautiful bright sunshine on Hampstead heath, that kind of brightness that feels reminiscent to days in New York- so very crisp and vivid. This has to be the most magical time of the year, just as the leaves are turning, and you don’t have much expectations of the weather, to be walking amidst nature in your own city. We are so incredibly lucky to live in London, which at times of course is hard to see when slogging it in rush hour on the tube or sitting in stand still polluted hideous traffic silently cursing your taxi- but when you enter one of the many parks you realise how green and special a place we live in- so many parks, gardens, squares, allotments and tree lined streets. Hampstead heath feels very superior and unique to us, a place where you can actually loose yourself and feel securely small, wandering through the many big old trees- the wondrous beech trees clustered together, like something out of a fairy tale. These Hampstead ventures had also some blackberry pickings going on. We filled a few baskets one day of deliciously ripe blackberries, better to not cram them together, so keeping them loose. Making sure to get the plumpest and shiniest, as they don’t ripen anymore after picking. August into September are the months to pick them, along with raspberries too- as legend has it any picked after these months are to be avoided as the devil is said to have peed on them! Saying this we take them back and clean them, one never knows what four-legged creature could have been fouling on them. Once cleaned you want to keep them dry, they can be stored in the fridge for a few days- we love them in the morning on top of porridge with cashew butter and honey, also delicious with meringues- think an autumnal eaton mess, or on the weekends made into a coulee and poured over a stack of pancakes. We made these little tartlets for a job recently. We love making tart bases like this- much more substantial then your typical pastries- which most of the time can be flavourless and lacking in crisp. This is crisp and crunch assured with the nutty chocolaty base, which works very well with the citrusy mascarpone and tart blackberries. This is a very smart and easy little number, can also be made into a big sharing tart- using this same recipe just press the mixture into a big case and set. Raspberries are a very welcome topping too


    ½ pack of dark chocolate hobnobs
    100 g flaked almonds
    120 g Butter 
    sea salt

    250g mascarpone 
    1 tbsp greek yoghurt
    1 lemon zested
    1 tbsp maple syrup 
    1 tsp of vanilla paste 

    2 punnets blackberry 
    2 sprigs mint roughly picked 


Start by toasting your flaked almonds in a preheated 200* oven, leave until golden- about 5-8 mins then melt the butter in a small pan over a low heat. Blitz your flaked almonds until roughly chopped and place in a mixing bowl, then separately blitz your hobnobs into crumbs and add to the bowl. Pour your melted hot butter over and mix together with a pinch of sea salt. Line a 12 hole tart tray (should make around 10) with cling film, should be about 1 ½ tbsp. of mixture in each, very thinly spread this around and up the sides- you want to achieve a thin crispy case. Place in the fridge for two hours to set. Whisk your filling ingredients and fill each tartlet case to almost the top. Top with the blackberries and pinched mint