As long as we manage to keep the pigeons at bay there is an abundance of berries in our garden at the moment. Or if you prefer to cut out the hard work of growing your own visit your local farmers market www.dorsetfarmersmarket.co.uk for a selection of the best local grown fruit which is ideal for this recipe.
To make two pastry tarts (use one now and freeze the second for unexpected guests)
450g (1lb) plain flour
110g (4oz) caster sugar (omit sugar if you wish to make a savoury flan)
225g (8oz) unsalted butter – cut into cubes
2 free range eggs
Additional 2 free range egg yolks (freeze the whites to save for a future meringue)
Your choice of flavourings such as citrus zest, vanilla extract or cocoa powder
A round flan tin measuring 25cm diameter
In a food processor pulse the butter, sugar and egg together until it looks like scrambled egg. Add the flour and flavourings, pulse gently until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Take care not to over work.
Remove the pastry on to a lightly floured surface, and bring together, kneading very gently to ensure you have a smooth dough.
Cut in half and shape both pieces into a round or rectangle, depending on the tart tin you intend to line. Wrap the pastry and rest it in a cool place for 20 minutes before you roll it out to line a greased tart tin.
To bake blind:
Freeze both pastry cases until you need them, this is important if you are cooking your pastry in the AGA as it will give you a better result. When you wish to cook one of the cases, remove from the freezer and line it with baking parchment and fill with baking beans. Cook from frozen on the floor of your roasting oven for approximately 15 – 20 minutes. If you are using a conventional oven set the temperature to 190 C / Gas Mark 5 and place a baking sheet inside to preheat. Slide the pastry case (still in its tin) directly on to the hot baking sheet to cook. This will help to ensure that the base cooks crisply.
Once you have prepared and cooked your pastry case, allow to cool then remove from the tin and fill with crème patissiere and your choice of summer berries, we like to glaze the tart too.
For a 25cm round tart tin we suggest that you use 450g (1lb) of fresh berries. Our crème patissiere recipe along with tips for making a glaze can be found on our website www.allhallowsfarmhouse.co.uk
Cooks’ tip –
When you make pastry we suggest that you double the quantities and use the extra quantity to line a spare tart tin. Wrap this well and label the date and whether it is sweet or plain pastry clearly.