A Blackberry and Apple Tart with Hazelnut Crust for the last day of Autumn

Blackberries were poor this year. smaller, harder, less succulent, less sweet, less black. Just like every other crop in Ireland this disappointing year.  Two weeks ago, we took to the hedgerows on a bright, sunny day and picked our fill.  There were rose hips too, sloes and elderberries. Little red ‘blackberries’ which had failed to mature and ripen for want of warmth and sunshine were stunted on the brambles. No doubt the birds will eat them when they’re hungry enough.  Our reward was a blackberry and apple crumble that evening, and I froze the rest in 1 lb bags.

Hedgerow in Autumn , 2012

A few days later, builders arrived to do some long overdue work at home. It became clear from the very beginning that they were neat, tidy, punctual and did what they said they’d do.  Their long working day and high standards put me faoi geasa ( under a kind of moral obligation) so I cooked dinner for them each day. When they informed me that they intended to work Saturday and Monday of the bank holiday weekend, I changed my plans and counted my blessings.  They would be finished quicker, and we’d all be delighted.  So for dessert on Saturday, I made them a blackberry and apple tart.

Having tasted Linzertorte in Vienna,  I figured that these men, being Polish, might be partial to a hazelnut crust on their tart, and indeed they were.

Blackberry and Apple Tart with a Hazelnut Crust


For the crust

  • 6 ozs /175g plain flour
  • 3 ozs/75g  ground hazelnuts (sold ready-ground in Lidl)
  • 2 ozs/50g icing sugar
  • finely zested rind of one lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • 4 ozs/110g butter at room temperature
  • 2 egg yolks

For the filling

  • 1 lb blackberries
  • 2 bramley apples, peeled and sliced
  • 2 ozs sugar

One round, fluted tart tin with a removable base, measuring 9 inches or 23 cm.


  • Put all dry ingredients for pastry crust in a food processor and blitz until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add egg yolks and blitz again.  If it needs a little more moisture to make it come together,  add a tablespoon of cold water.
  • Roll into a ball, cover with clingfilm and rest in the fridge for 30-60 minutes.
  • Divide into 2/3 and 1/3 quantities. Roll out the 2/3 piece to  line base and sides of  a tart tin. Roll the 1/3 piece out flat and cut into strips for lattice work.
  • Put blackberries, apples and sugar in a small saucepan. Heat slowly until bubbling, when all the sugar is dissolved and the apples turned to pulp.


  • Spoon the fruit filling into the tart crust.
  • Lay the lattice strips across the fruit filling
  • Place on a hot baking sheet or oven tray and bake in a pre-heated oven at 190C for 30-35 minutes.

Blackberry and Apple tart with a cuppa on Nicholas Mosse tablewear

I reckon this tart would be good with frozen berries, with cranberries or as the original Linzertorte, with a redcurrant jelly filling. Serve it hot or cold, with cream, crème fraîche, custard or whatever you fancy.

And you can follow it, as we did when they finished this evening, with a toast, as we banished the ghosts of builders of the past, and drank the health of noble and skilled builders of today. A win/win scenario all round.


About haysparks

Viewing the world, the human condition, our history, evolution and health through the prism of food.
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4 Responses to A Blackberry and Apple Tart with Hazelnut Crust for the last day of Autumn

  1. WiseMona says:

    I said this to you at the weekend…you are the only woman I know who has managed to get the
    contractors finished on time and it is clearly because of their full bellies.
    What a lovely way for them to repay your kindness xx The blackberries were a bit better this year in Galway (lucky us) and we are going to a Hazelnut grove on Saturday to pick what is left of this years crop if they have not washed away by then! Lovely to see you last weekend in Kilkenny.

  2. M. G. says:

    Really good crop this year in Meath. Best I have seen for years. if you tell me where there are sloes I’ll let you in on my secret crop 😉

  3. Apple cake is my favourite! What gorgeous pictures too with those lovely autumnal colours. Thanks for the recipe!.. I’ll definitely be making this. The hazelnut crust sounds like a great addition.

    • haysparks says:

      Thanks, Kris.Since the fresh blackberries are over for another year, I suppose frozen ones would do very well. They’re easy enough to find in the freezer cabinet of a supermarket. Enjoy!

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