Apple and blackberry shortcake

Bill Granger's rustic double-crust shortcake is bursting with the characteristic fruit flavours of late summer and autumn
By Bill Granger
Apple and blackberry shortcake
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6-8
  • Cook Time: standing time
  • Prep Time: 50 minutes plus 30 min chilling
  • Effort: easy


For the fruit

  • 2 large tart cooking apples
  • 4 eating apples
  • 1 lemon, finely grated zest only
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 150 g fresh or frozen blackberries

For the shortcake

  • 185 g unsalted butter
  • 185 g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1 egg, plus 1 egg yolk
  • 275 g plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder

For the brandy custard

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3 tsp cornflour
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250 ml milk
  • 185 ml cream
  • about 3 tbsp brandy


1. For the fruit: peel the apples, remove the cores and cut each apple into about 16 slices. Put the apples, lemon zest, sugar and 2 tablespoons of water in a medium saucepan. Cover and stew over a low heat for about 10 minutes, until the apples are soft but not mushy. Allow them to cool.

2. For the pastry: cream the butter and caster sugar together in a mixing bowl until fluffy and smooth. Add the egg and mix well. Sift the flour and baking powder into the mixture and stir until combined. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and divide the dough into two equal portions. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas 4. Roll each piece of cake dough into a round approximately 22cm across. Press one round into a 24cm nonstick springform cake tin. Spread the apples over the dough, leaving a small border around the edge, then put the blackberries on top. Place the other round of dough on top and press the edges together. Brush with water and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

4. For the brandy custard: in a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, cornflour, sugar and vanilla, then whisk in the milk and cream until smooth. Transfer to a medium saucepan and stir over a low heat for 10 minutes, or until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

5. Add the brandy to taste, stirring well. Remove the pan from the heat, cover and keep warm.

6. Remove the tart from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before removing and serving with the brandy custard.

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