So not many sane people would choose to do pick your own in a baking 32c (90f) heat and less whilst you and your 2 toddlers have a raging cold. We had been to Sutton Green last year for strawberries, at a much more sensible time, see here. We seemed to also time it exceptionally badly in terms of actual fruit and veg being on the plants. My plans to educate Weasel on how veg is awesome and stock up an empty fridge were left a bit by the roadside when all we could find in terms of veg was this carrot, which at least gave the Ninja some fun and was free (I think the woman was shocked we’d brought it to the counter to pay for instead of setting it free once we saw its diminutive stature):
Two grumpy toddlers, one cold-ridden mummy and blasting sunshine like that of the Sahara, off we went and found raspberries to pick. It took about 3 ‘raspberries’ before genius mummy realised we were picking unripe blackberries. Must really hone up on my plant identification skills. Oops. 1/4 of a punnet later, that’s one ripe berry available on each bush which at least gave the opportunity to play spot the one we can actually pick, and 99p lighter, we headed home without a clue what to do with our ‘haul’.
Just before she had tried the ‘I need a wee’ game to try to get to leave. I called her bluff as she magically got wee shy in the field. Mummy 1, Weasel 0.
Note to self – when a child reaches the height and weight limit of a carrier, do not continue to use it. Ouch. Ergo only from now on. Also, take selfies so I can catch the Ninja eating random weeds she managed to pull out of the bushes as we picked.
Baking happened with the kids in bed, that magical time when your pre-children self would sit watching telly, that now becomes the few hours of your day when you cram everything you used to do in 24 hours into. I googled tarte tatin, having had the great idea that then I wouldn’t have to turn the oven on. Good thing I googled it really, turns out it goes in the oven. My recipe is mostly based on the Mary Berry recipe I came across. I say mostly because hers and the one I made share only 2 ingredients in common – butter and plain flour. I thought I borrowed her oven temp and time, but in retrospect, didn’t. One day I will read properly and Husband will be a happy man.
My ingredients: About 2 cups of fruit (half raspberries (from my garden and OCD checked for caterpillars after having found a few this week, thankfully pre-cooking) , half blackberries), a good squeeze of vanilla (get a squeezy bottle of this stuff, I love it and require industrial quantities), some water to melt sugar in (I think maybe 200ml), about 50g of margarine (or butter), about 60g of caster sugar and about about a large fist-sized ball of dough. Mary’s dough was made from a complicated procedure of folding and grating lard. I’ve just made mine earlier for a tarte using this recipe here. Preheat your oven to 190c (mostly because that’s what I had it on to bake a ham earlier on in the day and forgot to change it -it’s that scientific.).
Step 1: Bring water and sugar to boil on the stove in a non-stick, SHALLOW pan (or you could follow my lead and go for a mega-deep one) that is oven-suitable. Add butter/marg, and caramelise. It gets a bit splashy, watch out. Swish around like some kind of chef.
Step 2: Add fruit in, turn down heat slightly. I left mine to cook for about 5 minutes on a medium heat whilst giving a little swish occasionally.
Step 3: Turn hob off, but leave pan on. Quickly roll out pastry, into the shape & size of your pan obviously, and place on top. When you do it badly, it looks like the photo below. Let sit for a minute ‘to tuck in’ one recipe suggested, but I’m not sure this added anything to mine. It would be hard to improve on that masterpiece, right?
Step 4 : Oven for 30 minutes on 190c fan assisted. Once out the oven, inevitably forget the handle is as hot as the surface of the sun and burn the crap out of your hand. This part is optional if you like to retain complete use of your hands for the evening.
Step 5: Wait 5 minutes for tarte to cool, tip quickly onto plate. If, like me, your small child decides now is the time to wake up and demand calpol/milk/nappy change despite it being 11pm, wait an hour, you can put it on the hob briefly to loosen it up. Despite its necessary 6 inch drop to leave its nest, my tarte actually came out in one piece!
Verdict: Despite the use of a giant saucepan and lack of recipe, this tarte came out looking and tasting awesome. Even Husband liked it, which is a bit of a shock. Weasel cries whenever it even comes to the table, lovely.