“I don’t take art too seriously. The nice thing about drawing is if you get tired, you can always bake a pie, or finish the dishes. I don’t have a studio, I work on the kitchen table. When you get tired of housework, you can stop and draw. Anything I enjoy, I don’t consider work. They say art is the reflection of an age and I think it certainly is true, but I’m behind the times. Time was invented by man, so it doesn’t really matter. I’ve done just as I pleased all my life and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of it.” ~Tasha Tudor
We’re in celebration mode here with several family birthdays falling within days of each other, and adding to our festivities we’re taking part in Tasha Tudor Day! (August 28th was her birthday.) If you want to tag along, start here and weave your way through blogville to find more birthday tributes, recipes, and plain old-fashioned sweetness. I’ll be sharing my recipe for blackberry filling today. So grap a cuppa and join us!
I must say, summer seems to be coming to an early end here. Most of our garden tomatoes are still green on the vines, and what little else we managed to salvage from the voles and varmints has suddenly gone to seed. Oh well. It was, however, a grand year for blackberries. There are still so many. We've picked bucketfuls almost daily and had to figure out what to do with them. Once we had our fill of cobbler, I made freezer pies and jam for the winter stores. This week, I made a big pot of blackberry fruit filling for tarts and turn-overs. If you have a lot of fruit from your backyard trees or berry bushes, this filling is the answer. It can be adapted for most fruit and berries quite easily by adjusting the amount of cornstarch used, this depending on how much water is in the fruit you’re using. Blackberries, in particular, have a lot of water and tend to get runny when you cook them, where as apples do not, so my recipe is heavy on the thickening and this works especially well for blackberries.
First, let me assure you that none of this is hard. A little time management is a good idea though. In other words, this isn't something that can be whipped up at the very last moment or even in the same day if you’re like me and don’t like to stand in the kitchen for more than an hour at a time. I manage this best in small steps, while carrying on with other things to keep it all from feeling like a huge production. The filling can be made the day before, which is all for the best, because it allows the fruit mixture to cool and gel up completely before you work with it. Ditto with any pastry you make since it needs to be chilled as well. Both can stay in the fridge for a couple of days until you’re ready to assemble and bake (or freeze), as you prefer. I like to do both at the same time. Here's my recipe . . .
Heat everything gradually to a gentle boil, stirring frequently and adjusting heat to avoid scorching. Mixture will thicken up between 10-20 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool for half an hour. Cover pot with the lid and refrigerate overnight.
OK, so now that you have all that yummy filling, you can make all kinds of things with it, like jam tarts, turn-overs, and scrumptious cookies for tea parties. You can use a basic cookie crust for the heart tarts (shown), or this one for instance. I buy pre-made frozen puff-pastry sheets for the turn-overs. Cut the sheets in thirds along the fold lines, then into thirds again to make a total of nine squares per sheet. Brush the edges with cold water, put about a teaspoon of filling in the middle and pinch them closed forming triangles; use a fork to seal the edges and to poke "blow holes" in the center of each. Bake them on parchment paper for 10-12 minutes until golden brown, OR freeze them (unbaked) on cookie sheets and pack them in storage containors with wax paper between the layers. Some empty ice cream boxes work well if you want to avoid using plasic, and it's a nice way to re-use them. These will keep up to six months in the freezer. I love having things like this on hand and ready to bake when guests drop by unexpectedly and for special occasions, when there's no time to fuss in the kitchen. The heart tarts can be made the same way and kept frozen too. Please help yourself to one.
Or perhaps you'd care to try a blackberry turn-over.
I made plenty for our little 'remembering tasha' tea party here today. I'm so happy you stopped by. Cheers!