Sunday, March 17, 2013

Berry Nut Tart

I always love entertaining and catching up with friends and this weekend I got to hang out with my good friend Yvette who has been living and working in Cambodia for the last 2 years. As well as being excited to see her after so long, I was also very excited to meet her lovely Cambodian husband Vanda for the first time. It was Yvette and Vanda's first anniversary and they chose to celebrate it by sharing their vows in our back garden, with Andrew and I as witnesses and my celebrant mother in law Kate and father in law Peter in attendance. Celebratory champagne and lunch followed of course!

I decided on a quite simple family style lunch. Yvette had previously commented on the fact that in Cambodia, there isn't the option to indulge her craving for roasted lamb, so I thought this was the obvious choice for lunch. I deboned and butterflied out a leg of Cooma lamb and allowed it to marinate overnight with plenty of garlic, paprika, olive oil, lemon and orange rind, a squeeze of orange juice, rosemary from the garden, sea salt, cayenne pepper and a few crushed up anchovies. I then char grilled the lamb on the BBQ, and served it with crispy golden potatoes, plenty of seasonal vegetables, gravy and a native Pepperberry and Pinot Noir jelly that I brought back from our trip to Tasmania. The Pinot and Pepperberry was a really tasty accompaniment to the grilled lamb as an alternative to mint jelly.

For dessert, I wanted something that I could do ahead. When having lunch or dinner guests, I try to include at least one course that can be made - or at least mostly prepared - the day before. It makes things so much easier. There is nothing worse than feeling rushed and stressed when your guests arrive. I mean, entertaining is supposed to be fun right? My second criteria for the dessert dish was that it also had to be pretty much dairy free. I chose a French style homemade almond tart that showed off the delicious berries that are in season right now. I had a handful of macadamia nuts in the cupboard too, so I used those as part of the topping, for a buttery tasting, golden crunch. Normally I would serve a tart like this with creme anglaise or ice cream, but I chose a dairy free sorbet instead from Cow and Moon, a local artisan gelato shop that make delicious, award winning frozen treats. I chose a blackberry and blueberry sorbet that was lovely and tangy against the sweetness of the tart.

Berry Nut Tart

This tart could easily be adapted for all kinds of other seasonal fruit. I think that peach or nectarine would be lovely in place of the berries - or you could go really classic and use apples or pears. This recipe would also work well as smaller, individual tarts.

Tart served with Blackberry & Blueberry Sorbet
from Cow & Moon artisan gelato @ Enmore

You will need: 150g soft butter (I used salted butter), 120g caster sugar, 2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon cornflour, 200g almond meal, 3 eggs, 1/2 cup roughly chopped macadamias, 1 punnet fresh blueberries, 1 punnet fresh raspberries, 1 to 1 1/2 sheets sweet shortcrust pastry (the amount will depend on the size of you tart tin)

Method: Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a tart tin with baking paper. I use a metal tart tin with a removable base - I think they give a good result and it is much easier to get the tart out of the tin.

Line the tart tin with the pastry and then place another sheet of baking paper on the top. Fill with baking beads (or if you don't have them, use dry beans or lentils) Blind bake the pastry in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.

To make the filling, beat together the softened butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the cornflour and half of the almond meal and beat together thoroughly. Add the eggs one at a time, beating as you go. Finally, add the last of the almond meal and beat until all combined.

Spread about half of the raspberries and blueberries across the empty tart shell. Pour the filling mixture into the tart and spread out evenly. Press the remaining berries into the mixture.

Sprinkle the macadamias over the tart and bake at 180C for around 30-40 minutes, or until lightly golden. Allow to cool for 20 minutes uncovered before slicing and serving. Can be served either warm or cold.


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