Mulberry & Apple Flan

5th October 2017

Interview: Sophie Missing
Photographs: Sophie Davidson

“A long time ago King James I made a law that all his noblemen had to plant mulberry trees because he thought he could start a British silk industry; it never worked, though they did dutifully plant them [apparently James I got his trees muddled, ordering the black mulberry variety instead of the white, which is the type that silkworms eat]. In quite a few places like Tewkesbury Abbey there are some incredibly old trees. We planted our tree when we came and it’s only about 30 years old.If you pick mulberries too soon they’re incredibly sour, but on the tree at any one moment you’ve got mulberries that are white, pink and almost going black. If you wait till they’re almost black they’re very sweet, but of course if you’re just two minutes too late they drop off or the birds have them.”
Rosamund Young, farmer and author, Worcestershire, UK

Makes 1 x 9”/23cm flan



8oz/225g freshly milled flour
4oz/110g butter


As many mulberries as you can find (around 1lb/450g)
2 medium eating apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 tbsp kuzu (wild arrowroot)


Rub the butter into the flour and mix in enough cold water to bring it all together and make a dough. Add a splash more water – the pastry should be a bit wetter than you think. Put the pastry in a plastic bag and leave in the fridge for at least half an hour: the longer the better as it will go on absorbing the liquid. The pastry can be made a day in advance if easier (if you try to use it straight away it just falls apart).

I prepare the fruit in advance then let it go cold: to save saucepans and heat and washing up, stew the apples in a drop of water over a low heat and throw the mulberries in with them to soften. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Preheat the oven to 190C.

Roll the pastry out into a circle on a lightly floured surface and transfer to a tart or flan tin pushing into place. Prick the base with a fork and bake for approximately 25 minutes – tap it to check it sounds hollow. Remove and leave to cool on a wire rack.

Fill the pastry shell with the stewed fruit, reserving the juice.

In a small pan, mix the kuzu with a little of the cold reserved fruit juice until totally smooth then add the rest of the juice. Bring to the boil for a minute, stirring constantly. Pour over the fruit to cover and allow to go cold before serving – the glaze is far better when “set”.

If strawberries are in excess in summer and you have some frozen you can arrange them around the edge of the flan and the fruit glue will thaw them while preserving their shape.

Posted 5th October 2017

In Recipes


Interview: Sophie Missing
Photographs: Sophie Davidson