Sunday, 3 July 2011

Tart with a heart

If ever there were a tart with a heart it would be this one.  If you've only ever had the mass produced versions covered in a thick wedge of icing with a glace cherry on top I would urge you to try this instead, they're worlds apart. 

This is a tart that seems more wholesome than it is because it tastes like a sepia tinted childhood memory that you probably never had - unassailably comforting. I recommend it with a cup of earl grey in the afternoon.

Makes one 25cm tart

~for the pastry:
190g plain flour

35g golden caster sugar
115g butter, cut into cubes
1 medium egg

~for the filling:
6 tbsp cherry jam
225g caster sugar
225g soft butter
225g ground almonds
5 medium eggs
½ tsp almond essence (optional)
the zest of a lemon
2 tbsp flaked almonds

1) First make the pastry by rubbing the butter into the flour with your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs, then stir in the sugar and the yolk of the egg (saving the white for later), and bring together into a ball. If the mixture feels too dry, add a few drops of milk. Roll out into a rough circle about 20cm round, then cover with clingfilm and chill for 20 minutes.

2) After chilling, roll out again to a thickness of 3mm and use to line a buttered and base lined 25cm x 3.5cm loose bottomed tin. Leave 1cm of additional pastry around the edge of the tin, this will be trimmed off more neatly after blind baking. Chill in the freezer for 15 minutes, then prick the base all over with a fork, line the pastry with a piece of greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans before baking for 20 minutes at 350f/180c/gas mark 4. Remove the beans, brush the pastry with the left over egg white, and bake for a further 10 minutes. Then trim the edges down to the height of the tin, and leave to cool.

3) Now spread the cherry jam over the base of the tart, then cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, lemon zest and almond essence then fold in the ground almonds. Spoon into the pastry case, level out, and scatter over the flaked almonds. Bake for a further 20-25 minutes at the same temperature as before until golden on top and set in the centre.

3) Serve cool or slightly warm with thick cream, ice cream or Chantilly cream.


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