I was mid photographing this gorgeous pie whilst chatting to my French friend Bastien today. I sent him a photo with the tag ‘Tarte au Pomme’ (I did retain something from my French lessons in school!) He replied ‘Tarte de la Forêt’ ~ of course … ‘of the forest’ much more appropriate for this warming beauty.
Pears, Apples and Blackberries in a cinnamon crust. With a swirl of maple syrup and some flaked almonds to serve. As Bastien pointed out ‘the perfect pie for a winters evening’. OK, we’re technically entering spring. But with the temperature regularly falling below zero in these chilly Derbyshire hills, there’s an excuse to embrace winter warmers such as this one for a short while longer.
For the crust
200g rice flour
70g cold, solid coconut oil – chopped into rough cubes
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 flat teaspoon Xanthium gum
1 flat teaspoon baking powder
Water (to add slowly)
For the filling
A handful of blackberries
Some maple syrup and flaked almonds to serve
I would usually suggest you warm coconut oil when baking with it. This is one of those recipes where it’s just the opposite, the colder the better.
Put the cold chunks of coconut oil, rice flour, Xanthium gum, cinnamon and baking powder in your food processor and blitz until it becomes a bread crumb like texture. Slowly begin to add water. You’re wanting the mixture to turn to pastry dough. You will need to add water really slowly as you don’t want to over-wet the flour. If that happens just add a little more rice flour to firm it up again.
Once your flour forms a ball of dough take it from the processor and place it on a work surface scattered with flour (to stop it sticking). You do want the dough ball to be nice and smooth but you don’t want to over-warm it by kneading it for too long. Sprinkle the top of the pastry ball with a little flour too. This will stop the rolling pin from sticking to the pastry. Then gently begin to roll the ball out flat.
You need to ensure the pasty is rolled to a circle (ish) shape. Large enough to fill the base of your flan tin and allowing extra for the side crust.
I use a tin with a removable base. Grease the base of the tin with a little coconut oil and carefully slide it under the pastry, then gently lift the base into the circular tin. The pastry will naturally fall up the edges of the tin. Press it softly into place. If bits fall off or break don’t worry too much, just carefully press them back. The pastry is meant to be crumbly so no matter how gentle you are it can happen!
The fruit won’t need too long to cook, so in this recipe I pre-bake the pastry. Place the flan dish into the oven at 150C. It will need between 30-40mins but keep an eye on it. The sides will gradually come away from the tin a little which is great because it will make the flan easier to serve!
While the base is baking, roughly chop the apples and pears, stir in a mixing bowl with blackberries and a dusting of cinnamon.
Scoop the fruit into the part baked base and return to the oven for a further 20-30 minutes. The fruit should be soft and the base firm and crumbly.
Serve with a drizzle of maple syrup and some flaked almonds.