The Husband and I are officially moving to England in six days (yes, SIX. Where has the time gone…?), and we’re therefore taking full advantage of our last week in decent, Australian summer for what may be a long time.
The thing about summer is that you’re never really in the mood for heavy, dense food. You want to feast on things which are light and colourful, and I think this tart is the perfect summer treat. It can be eaten in late in the morning with a cup of tea, during the afternoon when a vistor drops by, or after dinner, sitting outdoors in the warm evening air. Or, you know, jammed into your mouth as quickly as possible during a midnight fridge raid. Whatever works for you.
No matter what time of day you eat it, you’re bound to fall in love. The pastry is buttery and delicate – almost like shortbread. The custard is silky and packed with vanilla, and the summer berries add a beautiful, tart juiciness to the creamy custard. Even if you’re up in the Northern Hemisphere, shivering your way through January, give this tart a try – one bite and you’ll be transported straight into summer. June will be here before you know it…
SUMMER BERRY TART
250g plain flour
2 tablespoons caster (superfine) sugar
1. Place flour, butter and sugar into a food processor and process until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
2. Add iced water, a tablespoon at a time, and process until the pastry has come together. You should only need between 2 and 4 tablespoons of water.
3. Remove pastry from the food processor and knead lightly into a ball. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour before use.
1 cup cream
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon cornflour
1/3 cup caster sugar
1. Combine milk, cream and vanilla in a saucepan and heat, stirring constantly, until steaming hot but not simmering. Remove from heat.
2. In a separate metal bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, cornflour and sugar until well combined.
3. Whisking constantly, pour the hot milk mixture into the egg and whisk well.
4. Quickly pour the custard mixture back into the saucepan and return to a low-medium heat, stirring continuously until the custard becomes thick. Don’t let it boil as the custard will curdle.
5. Chill finished custard in the fridge until cold.
I used frozen berries for the topping – I find that they hold their shape better than fresh and often have more flavour. Suit yourself, though!
2 tablespoons raspberry jam
100g red currants
Juice of ½ an orange
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 Fahrenheit).
2. Roll out chilled pastry on a floured bench top until it is the size of the pie/flan tin you’re planning to use.
3. Use the rolling pin to gently lift the pastry and place over the tin. Press down lightly to fit to the shape of the tin and cut off any excess.
3. Pierce pastry all over with a fork and then bake in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes, or until lightly golden.
4. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
5. Once the pastry has cooled, warm raspberry jam in the microwave for 20 seconds to soften. Spread softened jam over the bottom of the pastry case.
6. Pour chilled custard into the case, on top of the jam.
7. If using frozen berries, remove from the freezer and place in a bowl to defrost for five minutes. Skip straight to step 8 if using fresh berries.
8. Once slightly defrosted, squeeze the juice of ½ an orange over the top of the berries stir gently to coat them.
9. Lightly sprinkle berries over the custard and garnish with mint leaves. Serve immediately if you want to avoid the colour of the berries running into the custard! Otherwise, return to the fridge and eat whenever you like.