aaaaaaaaaaaand we’re in! We have an oven that works! That tart up there is one of the first things I’ve baked here, and it didn’t burn on the bottom or anything. It’s all about the little victories, right?
A week and a half in, the kitchen stuff still hasn’t been unpacked. If you employ tunnel vision, you’ll find corners that are almost Pinterest-worthy – I couldn’t rest until I found a big jar to keep pasta in – but if you stop squinting you might spot a few still-wrapped plates, or a book that’s not quite in the right place. We’ve got our priorities sorted, though. The first time we came to the flat, we brought the essentials with us: kettle; mugs; teabags; and Hobnobs, always pronounced without the H. We moved the tea supplies in before we’d even been given the keys.
It feels right, finally. We – three of us, now – have grown as people considerably in the last year and a half, and this flats feels like it reflects us better than the flats we could never quite bring ourselves to call “home” ever did. The first few days, we’d nudge each other every now and then just to say, “Hey. Hey. We live here.” This is where we have a biscuit jar to dip into, and little bits of each of our personalities perched on every shelf and worktop.
Regardless of the boxes hastily shoved into corners, we’ve had friends over for dinner. Obviously I volunteered to make dessert, and obviously this ended with me botching together a recipe on that day that, thankfully, worked, so I didn’t have to pull my “sorry guys, here’s some ice cream” trick. You probably can’t go far wrong, though, with apples, cream, pecans, and rum.
Usually, I have a don’t-waste-drink-in-food policy. You know how recipes are often all, “add 250ml [semi-expensive] white wine”? When you don’t have spare twenties to throw around willy-nilly, you see that the same recipe with something else replacing the wine is almost as good. If you quantify the price of a bottle of wine by calculating how many weeks’ pasta, or cheese, or vegetables that’d be, you’re not as likely to throw a “glug” of the good stuff into a risotto. Food snobs, I’m sure, would be horrified.
Here, we’re talking about one and a half tablespoons. Not even a shot. The rum here isn’t for the alcohol – if you want a booze hit, go here for inspiration, or here if you’re reading this in the colder months. Nope, instead, a rum and butter concoction is used in this to bring a little warmth, some spice, and some vanilla that works wonderfully with the indulgent double cream-based custard filling.
Rum & pecan apple tart
Adapted, after considerable to-and-froing, from Raymond Blanc for BBC Food. Serves 8.
400g shortcrust pastry
|Notes: Shop-bought pastry is absolutely fine – especially in this heat, there’s just no good reason to faff about making shortcrust. *You’ll likely have cream left over – serve it with the tart, or, if you’re finding the morning especially hard, put some in your coffee. I promise it’s delicious. *Keep it in the fridge and it’s still delicious for two days, especially cold.