Monthly Archives: August 2012

Gooseberry cobbler and its wild Blackberry version

A cobbler is a rough tart with pastry folded over the edges and it is an ideal summer tart because it needs no tin or special pan, just a flat sheet of grease-proof paper. It is eaten warm with whipped cream, as soon as it comes out of the oven. You can use any seasonal berries to make the filling, or use a mix of them.

I came back to England with a terrible craving for gooseberries and blackberries. Their season is ridiculously short and it is now! So here is a quick and easy way to enjoy your pickings. I gathered my blackberries by the river yesterday with my eldest son, got stung by nettles and ate lots but I made these when we got back.

Gooseberry cobbler

Ingredients list

The video link above will lead you to a video (en Français) for the most delicious and idiot-proof pastry – it is on

Once you have made the pastry, leave it to rest a few hours in the fridge.

Prepare and wash the fruit.

Roll out the pastry into a loosely round shape directly onto your baking sheet or onto a Silpat sheet.

Brush with the egg yolk then sprinkle the semolina all over. This will absorb the juice without soaking the pastry which you want crunchy and crumbly.

Pile the fruit in the middle in a pyramid shape whilst sprinkling the sugar at various stages. Now fold the edges over, delicately with the flat end of a knife. Brush these with the rest of the yolk or some milk.

Put in a hot oven for 35 min or until the pastry turns brown.

Serve hot as soon as ready.

Blackberry version

Apricot tart with Bastogne crumble

A trip to Saint Tropez this summer has inspired this simple but cracking recipe.

In the old village, I bought a delicious, caramelised and almost burnt apricot tart for dinner and back home now, I want to recreate these flavours: the tangy apricot, the toffee flavoured topping and the crunchy base, smudged in burnt juice!

Because of a die-hard nostalgia for Bastogne, I have decided to incorporate the biscuits into the tart topping but you can simply use brown sugar and cinnamon instead. Bastogne are the French equivalent of Speculos biscuits; crunchy and heavy in spices. They were my favourite after-school snack…

Ingredients list:

  • Pate brisée base (my recipe to come soon!)
  • Apricots 8 to 10, quartered and stoned
  • Apricot jam 2 spoonfuls
  • Cold butter 50g
  • Brown Demerara or Cassonade sugar 40g
  • 2 Bastogne, crushed

Roll out the pastry under a sheet of cling-film so it does not stick to your rolling pin and lay it into a pie dish.

Prepare and wash the apricots. Cut them up in quarters and arrange them, skin down, onto the pastry base. Pack them very close because they shrink when they cook.

Crush the biscuits into a folded towel with the help of the rolling pin.

Mix the cinnamon and the sugar in a bowl and mix with the crushed biscuits, then  sprinkle lightly all over the fruit.

Brush the edges of the pastry with some apricot jam, all around the rim.

Put shavings of the butter randomly on the tart and put into a warm oven at 160 degrees for at least one hour. It is ready when the sides are almost burnt and the fruit has turned brown.

Serve with Chantilly cream. I have just bought my very own siphon and I can’t stop using it to make all sorts of Chantilly and espumas… More on that in September!

A view into the oven…