Delia

Gooseberry and Creme Fraiche Tart

This has to be one of the easiest fruit tarts to make in the world. The filling is essentially gooseberries and custard set in a pastry crust. I have found that a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar somehow really gives an added flavour dimension without being identifiable.


Serves 6-8

This recipe first appeared in Sainsbury's Magazine.

Gooseberry and Creme Fraiche Tart
Ingredients
 5oz (150 g) plain flour
 1¼ oz (30 g) butter
 1¼ oz (30 g) lard
For the filling:
 1 lb (450 g) gooseberries, topped and tailed
 3½ fl oz (100 ml) crème fraîche
 2 large egg yolks
 1½ oz (40 g) caster sugar
 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Equipment
You will also need a 9 in (23 cm) loose-based flan tin, about 1¼ in (3 cm) deep, lightly greased.

Method

Firstly, sift the flour into a bowl, then add the fat, cut into smallish lumps, then take a knife and begin to cut the fat into the flour. Go on doing this until it looks fairly evenly blended, then begin to rub the fat into the flour using your fingertips only and being as light as possible.

Being light with your fingers is not a special gift, it's just what's needed here, so don't go on rubbing all day, just long enough to make the mixture crumbly with a few odd lumps here and there.

Sprinkle 1½ tablespoons of cold water over the mixture, then, with a knife, start bringing the dough together, using the knife to make it cling. Then discard the knife and finally bring it together with your fingertips.

When enough liquid is added, the pastry should leave the bowl completely clean. If this hasn't happened, keep adding a spot more water (sometimes it really only needs your fingers dipped into water to bring it together). All pastry must be rested before rolling out. If you're in a hurry, this can seem like an awful bore, but I promise you it will, in fact, save you more time in the end. So place it in a polythene bag and leave it in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to gas mark 5, 375°F (190°C).

Place a solid baking sheet in the oven to pre-heat as well.

Then roll the pastry out to a circle, line the pastry tin and prick the base with a fork. Use some of the egg yolk for the filling to paint all over the sides and base of the pastry. Now place the pastry-lined tin on the hot baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes until the pastry is just beginning to turn golden.

Remove it from the oven and turn the heat down to gas mark 4, 350°F (180°C).

Next whisk the crème fraîche, egg yolks, sugar and balsamic vinegar together. Arrange the gooseberries in the flan case, pour the crème fraîche mixture all over and then return the flan to the oven and bake until the custard is set, which will be about 40-45 minutes.

Then remove it from the oven and allow it to settle for about 20 minutes before serving.

It also tastes extremely good served cold.

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