This is a delicious tart that could be served up any time of year. It’s an idea that came to me when I was trying to think how I could use a bowlful of fresh raspberries and a packet of feuillettée (puff) pastry from the fridge. Although I always make my own shortcrust pastry, having puff pastry to hand means I can always put something together quickly. My favourites are a simple fruit topping on a base of crême fraiche and an egg whisked together with a little sugar and maybe some spice if it’s apple. Alternatively, I make savoury parcels for dinner with a piece of salmon and some spinach, or simply vegetables in a creamy sauce. Today, I thought about making a kind of Bakewell Tart using fresh fruit instead of jam but putting the fruit on the top. The result is a gloriously light and colourful dessert which can be served warm or cold and it really doesn’t need anything else other than a glass of chilled white wine.
100g caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
100g ground almonds
fresh raspberries, (cherries or blackcurrants would do equally well)
some flaked almonds
icing sugar (optional)
Remove the pastry from the fridge and leave to one side to soften. Beat together the margarine and the sugar until light and fluffy then add the eggs a little at a time keeping back a small amount to brush onto the pastry. Gently fold in the ground almonds.
Unroll the pastry onto a large shallow flan tin with a loose bottom. Spread the almond mixture over the base but not going right to the edge. Put the fruit on top, more or less covering the surface and sprinkle with flaked almonds. Taking the edge of the pastry between your fingers, lightly roll it inwards over the edge of the almond mix and brush the folds with the remaining egg. Bake for 30-35mins at 180C until the filling is golden brown. Sift icing sugar over the flan just before serving.
My young pea plants were practically grabbing me round the ankles as I walked past. So yesterday evening we wandered into the woods to a recently coppiced area where I knew I could find what I needed. In a previous life, I used to coppice woodland for conservation and had already admired the neat stacks of logs and the long rows of brushwood. It was amongst the brushwood that I found just what I was looking for. I sorted out some twiggy pieces of oak into a couple of bundles and tied the stems together with rafia so we could carry them home.
Thanks to a gift of more than a dozen tomato plants last week, the garden chez nous is now pretty well full. I could squeeze in a row or two of something else where the carrots have failed to germinate, maybe some late spinach or a few radish, but I think I’ll wait for rain. The mixed lettuce are already providing more than we can eat, and I’ve had two mini-cucumbers which are quite fun and just enough to add to the salad bowl.
My favourite of all fruit is the raspberry. Earlier this year we spent a couple of hours sorting out the raspberry canes which had strayed way beyond their allotted place and with neglect on my part, had become more of a bed of nettles and bramble than a raspberry patch. Mulching the base of the row with grass clippings (yes, we did cut the grass a few times before the drought) as advised in a lovely old book on growing fruit by Geoff Hamilton has really paid off by suppressing the weeds and keeping the base from drying out. OK, the berries are a little small but the taste is wonderful and I love hunting along the row for those dark jewels of fruit. I love eating them fresh but they are very easy to freeze. Spread out flat on a plate or tray until frozen, then transfer to a freezer bag and take them out by the handful as a topping for meringues or rich chocolate dessert or to add to an apple crumble.