January is a funny old month isn’t it. Filled with people starting their New Year’s Resolutions (I’ve already failed mine), people attempting dry January (why), and those having a difficult time getting back on track (like me).
I honestly have no idea how I managed an hour long bus journey to school, 6 classes, a break, lunch, an hour back home and have time to do homework/see a friend in the evening when I was at Plockton High School. Almost every night I write a list in my diary of all the things I would love to do the next day. But actually doing them is completely different. I find it really hard to allocate my time well, if I know I need to clean the bathroom, that’s what I dedicate my whole day to, rather than the hour or two it will take to do the task. In fact, I do this with baking too. With my university course there isn’t much structure. A lot of it is online, which for a face to face course is quite frustrating. Even when on placement, structure can be limited. Working a shift pattern means it could be different every week unless you have some sort of arrangement. I can struggle with shift pattern work, but I would like to write a separate blog piece on this! My diary is filled with uncompleted lists that seem to just move from one day to another until I desperately need to do what I set out to. For someone who loves being organised, doing what I’ve organised doesn’t always happen…
I did say on my Instagram that I would be posting this recipe a few days ago, but life (and stomach flu) got in the way, so finally here is my recipe for a blackberry and basil custard tart with almond pastry.
This pastry is incredibly delicate, so keeping everything cold (especially hands) is essential.
80g Ground Almond
200g Plain Flour
140g Salted Butter
1 tbsp Milk
Add all the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix together. Cut the butter into cubes (chunks) and add to the dry ingredients. I keep the butter in the fridge until it’s needed. Rub together until the ingredients turn into fine breadcrumbs. Add in the egg and milk and bring together using your hands. Tip out onto a floured surface and give a quick kneed, just to bring everything together. Chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes. I made the jam whilst the pastry chilled.
Heat a fan assisted oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Line your tin and prick the base with a fork. I popped mine in the freezer for a couple of minutes before baking. I like the keep any scrap pastry until I know it’s cooked without any holes! Bake for 15 minutes with grease proof paper and baking beans and a further 10 minutes without.
1 tbsp Honey
1/2 tsp Dried Basil
Basically add all the ingredients and bring to a gentle boil! Once the blackberries soften I like the mash them a bit to make sure I get all the juice and flavour. Once reduced to a nice texture, take off the heat and sieve out any “bits”. Bring the oven down to 140 degrees Celsius.
300mls Double Cream
8 Egg Yolks
15g Basil (save some smaller leaves for decoration)
Bring the double cream, milk and basil to the boil over a low/medium heat. Take off the heat and let cool slightly in the pan. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until light in colour.
Whisk the cream into the yolks. To make this step easier I sieved the cream and milk into a jug first. Gently pour the custard into the pastry case. Using a teaspoon I then rippled the jam through the custard. Bake for 30-35 minutes, so that there is still a slight wobble in the middle!
If anyone has any suggestions on how they manage to achieve more than one thing a day please share your ideas and what works for you!