The lost orchard

One day, not far from home, I went exploring an unused orchard.

I wasn't sure how I felt about the orchard when I arrived.  It was, at some stage, an individual's pride and joy.  Now left to grow without its caretaker, broken branches lying on the ground, fruit not collected....I thought, perhaps, it was a bit lonely.  

The longer I sat there I soon realised it wasn't lonely at all.  The variety of birds taking refugee, eating and living in this place, was amazing!

'This story is for people who like to find hidden gems and lost treasures'  

With no pruning, sprays or fertilisers........I looked into these trees and saw fruit everywhere!  My mind instantly went to - what can I do with all these apples.....and at that moment, there was only one thing on my mind.....and I'm going to call it - The Lost Orchard Shortcake!

'How many more lost orchards are out there waiting
for a shortcake to be made?!' 

Today I'm going to take you to a few places to gather the fresh ingredients for this cake, but we'll start right here!  So I've collected more than enough to make this shortcake, the rest can go to my sheep as treats!

Even though I have permission to be here, I still feel like tip-toeing out, to ensure my free passage.  Next stop is up the road and round the corner, stopping every so often to take a quick pic.

Another type of 'lost orchard' are the self seeded apples trees along the side of the road, so that's my next stop - I love a good road-side forage!  I would like to find two types of apples, some berries and I also need a lemon.

Only collecting what has fallen on the ground, I manage to pick up a lovely selection.  I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who uses their clothes to collect fruit.....that's all part of the fun.

Next stop....Natalie's parent's home!

Now, some of you already know Natalie, she is the lovely person who looks after the shop for me on Monday's.  I'm here to collect one fresh lemon from her Mum and Dad's garden.  Poppy Jim was happy to be my hand model for this picture....oh, we did giggle xxx   You should smell this lemon!  I hope my lemon tree grows to produce such lovely lemons.

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More road-side foraging to collect the final fresh ingredient - these very ripe keriberries! Keriberry is a mix between a blackberry and a raspberry in flavour.  I don't think I'll use my t-shirt to gather these sweeties!  (I did check with the owners of both properties that the berries & apples had not been sprayed)

Recipe - The Lost Orchard Shortcake

200g butter, softened
200g caster sugar
4 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
400g plain flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
80g caster sugar, extra
4 medium sized cooking apples, peeled & cored (I made this quantity up with the apples I collected)
200g blackberries - fresh only (I used my Keriberries and a few strawberries from the patch)
Grated zest from 1 lemon
50g butter, extra
Caster sugar for sprinkling

Butter and sugar a 24cm pie tin.  Cream the first butter & sugar, add eggs one at a time and beat until creamed.  Add vanilla and beat until combined.  Sift flour with baking powder and add to butter mixture, stirring until just combined.  Cover and place in fridge for 1 hour.

Heat oven to 190c.  Roll 2/3 of the dough between gladwrap sheets or baking paper and line bottom and sides of the pie tin.

Roll out the remaining dough, wrap in gladwrap and leave in fridge until ready to assemble. Cut the apples into fat slices, mix with the extra sugar, blackberries and lemon zest and fill pie tin.  Dot with extra butter and then top with the reserved dough.  Press the edges to seal, cut a slit into the top, and sprinkle top with a little of caster sugar.

Bake in the middle of the oven for about 30 - 40 mins.  Test with skewer, cool and enjoy!

We had ours with a dollop of plain yoghurt.   x Julie