The perfect marriage of blackberry and apple

This stunning seasonal dessert pairs blackberry ice cream and apple pies

Blackberry and sweet geranium ice cream with apple pies

Blackberry and sweet geranium ice cream with apple pies

 

Blackberry and apple are the perfect partners. I’ve tried to separate them both in a bid to be more original but I can see inky blackberries beginning to appear on south-facing hedgerows and those cool autumn evenings are just around the corner, so baking apple tarts is a must. In order to freshen up the combo, I’ve made crisp little filo apple parcels and blackberry ice cream. By infusing the ice cream with sweet geranium leaves, it takes on a beautiful floral sweetness. Lemon balm or lemon verbena would also do.

Years ago I bought an ice-cream maker that attached to my mixer. I had visions of a freezer packed with different-flavoured homemade ice creams, but realistically I couldn’t face wasting so many egg yolks and spending the time churning and fiddling around with it, so it has remained underused and is keeping the pasta maker company on the shelf. I recently discovered a much easier way to make “no churn” ice cream. It does require a food processor, but the results are amazing. With a base of just cream, milk and sugar the possibilities are endless.

Blackberry and sweet geranium ice cream with apple pies

Makes 1 litre ice cream and 12 pies

For the ice cream:

500ml cream

150g sugar

250ml milk

5 sweet geranium leaves (optional)

250g blackberries

For the pies:

500g eating apples

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

50g soft brown sugar

½tsp mixed spice

270g filo pastry

50g butter, melted

To serve:

Icing sugar

Method

Pour the cream into a saucepan and place over a medium heat. Add the sugar and sweet geranium leaves, if using. Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the milk. Set aside to cool.

Rinse the blackberries and place in a small saucepan. Heat until they begin to soften, then mash with a wooden spoon until they become a smooth pulp. Leave to cool a little, then sieve the mix and discard the seeds. Stir the smooth puree through the cream mixture. Discard the geranium leaves and pour the ice-cream mix into a large Ziploc bag. Seal the bag and lay it flat on a tray. Place in the freezer for a few hours until solid – overnight, preferably.

The next day remove the block of ice cream from the bag. Lay it on a chopping board and slice into chunks. You may need to leave it out of the freezer for a few minutes so it becomes easy to cut. Place the chunks of ice cream into the bowl of a food processor and blitz until it becomes a smooth creamy mixture. You may need to scrape the sides down a few times. Pour the ice cream into a loaf pan or suitable container and return to the freezer.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Brush the insides of a muffin tin with the melted butter.

Peel the apples and cut into small dice. Place in a saucepan with the lemon juice, zest, sugar and spice. Simmer for eight to 10 minutes until soft but still retaining some bite. Set aside to cool. Cut the pastry into six-inch squares. You will need four squares for each pie. Brush a square of pastry with butter, lay another on top to make a star shape and brush with butter. Repeat with two more squares then tuck them neatly into a muffin hole. Repeat with the remaining pastry until all 12 holes are filled. Spoon a heaped tablespoon of apple into each and scrunch the pastry together to cover the filling. Bake for 12-15 minutes, keeping an eye that they don’t burn. Dust with icing sugar and serve warm with a scoop of ice cream.

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