Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Reg 6
Roll the shortcrust pastry into a circle approximately 26 cm in diameter. Line a 25cm (10in) ovenproof plate with the pastry and trim off any excess that hangs over the edge of the plate. Place in the fridge to rest.
Peel, quarter and core the apples. Cut each quarter into 3cm chunks and mix with the blackberries or blackcurrant, if using. Place the fruit in the centre of the lined plate, leaving a 2.5cm (1inch) border around the edge. Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the fruit.
Roll the cream pastry (or puff pastry) into a round with a diameter just larger than the plate. This will be the lid of the tart and the pastry should be slightly thicker than the shortcrust base. Brush the edge of the shortcrust base with egg wash. Lay the lid over the fruit and press the edges together. Trim off any excess pastry that hangs over the edge of the plate. Crimp the edges of the pastry and then scallop them. Cut a small hole in the centre of the lid for steam to escape during baking. Brush the surface of the tart with egg wash and put on a baking tray to catch any juices that may seep out of the tart as it bakes.
Place in the center of the preheated oven for 25 minutes then turn the oven down to 160°C/320°F/Reg 3 and bake for a further 35 minutes. The tart is ready when the fruit is soft and the pastry is golden brown all over. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the hot tart lightly with caster sugar. Serve warm with softly whipped cream and soft dark brown sugar.
Makes 340g (12oz)
Sieve the flour into the bowl of an electric food mixer. Cut the butter into small cubes and rub into the flour using the paddle attachment until the mixture forms a coarse texture. Do not overmix – if you do, the mixture will form a shortbread-like ball. Pour in the cold cream and mix until a smooth pastry forms. Wrap the pastry in parchment paper and chill overnight.
Always roll cream pastry straight from the fridge. If the pastry comes to room temperature it will be too soft to handle.
Makes 2 x 300g (11oz) pieces of pastry
Place the flour, icing sugar, caster sugar, and diced butter into the barrel of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Turn on the motor using the pulse button and ‘rub’ the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles very fine crumbs. Tip the crumb-like mixture into a mixing bowl.
Crack the egg into a small bowl and beat thoroughly. Add the egg into the crumb-like mixture and, using your fingers, gently mix and work everything together.