To dive right in
To assuage my fear and prevent my overworked brain from worrying too much about what my first words should be I’ve decided to dive right in with a recipe, and my first slightly blurry photo. Blueberry and cherry tart. It sounds gourmet even to me and I made it. Despite making this a couple of months ago it’s actually perfect for right about now, when blueberries and cherries are on special offer, 2 packs for £3 or whatnot. Though of course, you can make it at any time of the year and, I must confess, I used frozen fruit, which worked just fine. Given the abundance of slightly squishy blueberries out there at the moment though, I might just have to make this again this weekend…
Any fruit combination will work for this, though I would be wary of using strawberries as they have a very high water content and may end up making it quite soggy. The cornflour mixed in with the fruit does help a little with the juices though, and this certainly wasn’t too dribbly when I cut into it. The pastry is nice and flaky, and very rich, because of the 3 egg yolks. Some of the white can be used for glaze, the rest can be frozen – just make sure you make a note of how many whites you are freezing, it’s often hard to remember a month down the line when you come to defrosting them again and using them.
Blueberry and cherry tart
Adapted from Tartelette
The original recipe was for four to six 4-inch tartelettes. Now I like to think I’m quite good at maths, and I can calculate both the area of a circle and the volume of a, well, cake pan, but I could not figure out how a few 4-inch tarts equate to one 9-inch tart, but I used roughly the same quantities anyway and guess what? It worked fine. In the sense that I used about two-thirds of the pastry for lining the tray and the rest for decoration. Any leftover pastry can be put in the fridge or frozen and rolled out again (and again, and again, and again – gluten-free food does have its advantages).
75g butter – I always use salted because I like salt, but use unsalted if you prefer.
3 egg yolks
Pinch of salt – if you think you need it
1 1/2 cups of gluten free flour blend – whichever you prefer to use. Different flours will make a difference to the texture, but then so will loads of other things, so best to use what’s most convenient for you
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
Milk to mix, I used about 2 tablespoons
500g cherries (pitted if necessary)
2 tablespoons cornflour
2 tablespoons white sugar
Couple of leaves of lemon verbena, chopped
Egg white for glaze, if desired
1. Preheat your oven to 180 C.
2. Mix your fruit, sugar, cornflour and additional flavourings (I added lemon verbena as I just bought a plant and was really excited to use some of it, but the fruit tastes equally good on its own) together in a large bowl, so the cornflour lightly coats all the fruit. If you’re using frozen fruit don’t worry too much unfreezing it first. By the time you’ve made the pastry it’ll have unfrozen just enough not to interfere with the cooking of the tart, but hopefully not so much there’s juices everywhere.
3. In a separate bowl beat the butter until it’s soft and add the egg yolks. It might curdle a bit but keep beating until it’s fairly homogenous.
4. Mix the xantham gum into the flour, and then add the whole lot to the eggs and butter. Add a pinch of salt if you’re using it, and a teaspoon of sugar if you want your pastry to be sweet, though it’s not necessary with the fruit. Mix the flour in well, then add a few drops of milk (not too much, you can always add more if necessary), and bring together into a nice ball. Flatten down into a disc, wrap well and pop in the fridge for 30 minutes or so to make it easier to work with (unless your kitchen is really cold, in which case you can probably dive straight into the next step).
5. Lightly sprinkle your worktop with gf flour and pop the disc onto it. Roll it out so that its just bigger than the base of the tart pan. You’ll have spare. Transfer it gently into the bottom of the pan, and then press it into the edges. Fold the top straggly bits of the pastry down so you have a nice thick top and an even edge. roll it out on a lightly floured board or in between two sheets of plastic to fit your prefered pie pan. Blind bake for 12 minutes, then take it out of the oven, remove the weights and parchment, and pop back in the oven for another 2 minutes to brown the bottom. Brown pastry is tasty pastry.
6. Throw the berries into the still-warm pastry case. Roll out the leftover pastry and cut into strips to layer over the top of the pie. Drape these on top of the fruit, and pinch them together with the edge of the baked crust to hold them in place. Glaze with some of the spare egg white for shine and put back in the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until the top is going nice and brown.
Delicious served warm (though be careful of berries squirting hot juices at you when you bite in) with whipped cream or creme fraiche. Leftovers are pretty good served cold as well. Mine lasted about 3 days in the fridge before it was all eaten. By the last day the pastry had gone a bit chewy, but was otherwise unharmed.