Any variety of apple will work but a Granny Smith is good because it remains firm while baking. The more fluffy apples will taste equally good but do not present so well. We used to make our own crème fraîche and mascarpone. Now it is commercially available but it’s fun to make your own and you can flavour it with citrus zest, rum or brandy.
Recipe Tag: mascarpone
Dessert (or breakfast) doesn’t come any simpler than this. Date syrup can be found in some supermarkets (in the sugars section) but if unavailable try using either maple or rice syrup instead. Normally I loathe instant coffee but Coffee Supreme’s freeze-dried instant coffee is superb to use here. The berries can be changed to what you have available; blackberries and strawberries, the last of the stone fruits and even sliced bananas would also be excellent.
The advantage of a small bird is that there’s no argument of who is having the drum or breast, just plenty of meat and finger-licking goodness without much of a fuss. The pancetta and mascarpone provide richness and also help provide a sauce for the birds.
In the cooler months when our citrus trees are heaving under the weight of fruit, this tart is my go-to dessert when we host guests. The creamy, yellow custard has a fresh flavour punch full of tangy citrus zest that tidies up what sometimes can be an overly sweet tart when encased in a plain sugary crust. So, I’ve packed some spicy autumn flavour into the sweet pastry here with my own five-spice blend using black peppercorns rather than the usual Sichuan which lessens the perfume flavour that I sometimes find a little overwhelming. I also used cassia bark for its more rugged earthy cinnamon spice notes.