Home grown raspberries are like nothing else. They're at their best if picked straight off the bush and naughtily eaten, but they always retain their truly superior flavour until their mouldy demise. I actually managed to keep my paws off these for two days - a record, perhaps.
I wanted to make some little tarts with them - a little like the ones I wrote about buying in Oxford - but without the thin cake layer and jelly on top.
I had a bit of a pastry disaster with these. I've been making a lot of pastry recently - particulary shortcrust - and pulled out all my new cooling tricks and so on to create the best tasting dough I think I've made so far. I popped circles of the pastry into four muffin indents. I got excited by the little pleats they had made all by themselves just by folding in. So I popped them in the oven and starting faffing about with the ends of the pastry making strips and so on. Five minutes later I realised the complete lack of blind baking going on. So I took them out, propped the sides back up, put in some cases and ceramic baking beans and tried again. They turned out okay (definitely edible!) but perhaps not the perfection I was expecting from the dough.
I also wasn't entirely happy with the crème pâtissière recipe I used. I think I'll try another when I make it again but I've included it and my changes anyway. Usually I find Nigella faultless, so I was a bit surprised - but the colder Aga plate was rather cold, and my technique was probably wrong - I feel I should have beaten the eggs and sugar more.
Still, despite the various problems, they were really lovely. The raspberries could have made anything shine and the dark chocolate really complemented the sweet custard.