Raspberry tart

Tell me where have all the raspberry women gone?

Prince Rogers Nelson

I had a little flaky pastry left over from a chicken pot pie. And no fresh fruit til the next supermarket delivery, so I dug out some frozen raspberries to make a tart. The first time I made this, I was entranced by the text to imagine I could recreate the raspberry and redcurrant tart found in French Country Cooking (Elizabeth David) and followed the instructions meticulously to produce a dessert which we ate after the cold turkey one Boxing Day, long ago. This time I have halved the size, changed the pastry, swapped redcurrant jelly for strawberry jam and added a custard layer.

  • Ingredients:

75g/3oz flaky pastry – see spiced tarte tatin – or a sweetened shortcrust. 1 box/200g of frozen raspberries, sugar (optional) 100g/2-3Tbsp good strawberry jam; half a pint of milk, one spoonful of cornflour, another of plain flour, 1-2 spoonfuls of sugar, one egg yolk, a drop or two of vanilla (optional)

Alternatives: Fresh raspberries. I didn’t have any cornflour, so after scrutinising the ingredients I used custard powder instead, also leaving out any vanilla flavouring. If you don’t have any jam, just make a little by stewing sugar and fresh fruit until it goes jammy.

  • Method:

On a very low heat so as not to spoil the whole fruits, cook the raspberries, jam, sugar and a tiny bit of water together until the mixture has thickened somewhat. Leave to cool down.

Mix the egg yolk, sugar, flours and any flavouring in a small bowl. Heat the milk and slowly pour over the egg mix, stirring all the time. Return all to the pan, turn to the lowest possible setting and keep stirring (wooden spoon) until the mixture thickens. It needs to be as thick as say cheese sauce before you stop cooking and leave, covered with a layer of baking paper, to cool completely.

Starting with chilled pastry dough, roll out into a circle, as thinly as you can. Use it to line a greased tart dish (20cm/8in). Make a few tiny incisions in the pastry, cover with baking paper (tuck this well into the corners) and weight down with beans or a casserole lid. Bake in the middle of a medium oven until golden brown – probably about 20-25 minutes. Take off the lid and paper for the last 5 minutes. Leave to cool.

When everything is cool, spread the custard into the pastry shell to about 1-2 cm deep. Cover and refrigerate again for about 20 minutes or so. Then spoon on the raspberries as neatly as you can. Boil any remaining raspberry liquid to reduce it by half and leave to cool down before pouring over the tart. Cover again and refrigerate for several hours. Eat.

If you feel like dancing around to ‘Raspberry Beret‘ don’t let the ‘overcast days’ stop you.

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