Blackberry and apple crumble is still a great British dish, with the automatic proviso that it can be awful if treated with a leaden hand. Try this version in which the crumble is made buttery to the point of caramelization, the apples used are tart eating apples and the filling, spiked with brandy, is encased in a crisp almond and lemon crust. It all adds up to a blackberry and apple experience far removed from the giant metal tins of schooldays their cement-like topping cracking to allow the lava-like substance beneath to ooze unattractively through the surface, dark-streaked and malevolent.
Make the tart shell pastry by putting the sugar, almonds and flour into a processor and turning it on at full speed for a few seconds. Add the butter and work until just crumbed. Add the egg and extra yolk, lemon zest, salt and
Flour a work surface heavily and roll out the pastry. If it refuses to be rolled, cut the cylinder across in slices and press these into a 25-cm /10-inch loose-bottomed tart tin with your fingers, making a double thickness round the edges and pushing right up to the top as it shrinks as it bakes. Freeze until needed.
Make the filling: if using frozen berries defrost enough in a sieve to give
Make the crumble topping by sifting the flour into a processor with the brown sugar, ground almonds and butter. Pulse briefly to crumb and reserve.
Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/ gas 5. Prick the base of the tart shell, line with baking paper or foil and weight with beans. Bake blind for 10 minutes, remove beans and lining, and bake uncovered for another 5 minutes.
Fill with the apple mixture, but leave space for the crumble. Scatter the blackberries over the top, followed by the crumble, pressing down and smoothing level. Bake for 30–40 minutes, when the crumble should be biscuity and golden.
© 1998 Alastair Little and Richard Whittington estate. All rights reserved.