Rhubarb and Raspberry Tart

Serves : 6

Prep : 40 min, plus chilling time;   Cook : 20 min

This simple flan makes a delicious dessert. Semolina sprinkled on the pastry soaks up the fruit juices

Ingredients:
Rich Pastry:
3oz (175g) butter, softened
6oz (175g) plain flour, sieved
2 tblsp (30ml) sugar
1 egg yolk
About 2tbsp/30ml water

Filling:
1 lb (450g) rhubarb, cut into chunks
3oz/75g caster sugar
1 tblsp (15ml) cornflour, blended with water
1 tblsp (15ml) semolina
4oz (125g) raspberries
1oz (25g) flaked almonds, toasted
8in/20cm loose-bottomed flan tin.

Step One : Make the pastry by rubbing the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar, add the egg yolk, then start blending the mixture with a round bladed knife. As the mixture combines together add the water gradually to bring the mixture into a firm dough. Wrap in clingfilm and leave in a cool place for 30 minutes.

Step Two : Roll the pastry out on a floured surface and line the flan tin. Prick the base and line with greaseproof paper and baking beans. Chill in the fridge for 10 minutes.

Step Three : Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4 / 350oF / 180oC. Cook the tart for 15 minutes, until golden, removing the greaseproof paper after 10 minutes.

Step Four : Meanwhile, place the rhubarb in a saucepan with the caster sugar. Add 3 tblsp (45ml) water and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain the rhubarb, reserving the juice.

Step Five : To make the glaze, mix 6 fl oz (175ml) of the reserved juice with the blended cornflour. Return to the saucepan and bring to the boil to allow the mixture to thicken.

Step Six : Sprinkle the semolina over the base of the cooked pastry case. Place the drained rhubarb in the tart, add the raspberries and sprinkle over the almonds. Pour over the glaze making sure it covers the fruit in an even layer.

Step Seven : Serve the tart warmed or chilled with crème fraiche.

Other Rhubarb recipes can be found here …

Fig Crostata with Rosemary Custard

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (Spring 2018) and taken from a book called Feasting.

Figs are believed to have originated in the Middle East and have a strong presence in the Bible.  Showcase their sweet flavour and luxurious texture in this rustic crostata.

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:-

240g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
80g caster sugar
Pinch of salt
120g cold butter, cubed
2 egg yolks
90g semolina
8 fresh figs, sliced in half lengthways
1 egg beaten, for glazing
Icing sugar, for dusting (optional)

Rosemary Custard
750ml milk
2 rosemary sprigs
3 egg yolks
70g caster sugar
2 tbsp cornflour

Step One: Place the flour, sugar, salt and butter in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Add the egg yolks and 2 tablespoons of cold water, and blitz again until the dough comes together.  Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and shape into a ball, then flatten slightly.  Wrap in cling-film and rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Step Two: Preheat the oven to 200oC / 400oF / Gas Mark 6. Roll out the dough into a large circle with a 30cm diameter. Line a baking tray with baking paper and sprinkle one third of the semolina on top. Put the dough on top of the semolina and sprinkle the rest of the semolina on top of the dough.

Step Three: Arrange the figs on top of the pastry in an inner circle with a diameter of about 20cm. You should be left with a 10cm ring of pastry around the fruit. Fold up the edges of the pastry over the fruit. Glaze the pastry flap with the beaten egg and place in the oven to bake for 50 minutes.

Step Four: While the crostata is baking, make the rosemary custard. Pour the milk into a large saucepan over a medium-low heat, add the rosemary sprigs and warm through to infuse for 5-10 minutes.

Step Five: In a bowl, vigorously whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and cornflour to form a paste. When the milk is warm, remove the rosemary and pour 250ml of the warm milk into the egg mixture. Gently combine, then pour the mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the milk. Stir continuously over a low heat until the custard thickens.

Step Six: Remove the crostata from the oven. Dust with icing sugar, if using, and serve with the rosemary custard on the side.

Bacon, Cheese and Onion Slice

Serves: 4

Ingredients: 1 tblsp cooking oil; 2 onions, finely chopped; 8oz (225g) puff pastry; English or Dijon mustard; 4oz (100g) smoked bacon, chopped; 4oz (100g) cheddar cheese, grated; sesame seeds, to garnish

  • This slice makes great canapés, finger snacks or an accompaniment to soup.
  • Most people buy ready-made puff pastry but if you want to make your own, here’s how. Melt 2oz (50g) butter, cool. Leave 5oz (150g) butter to soften. Sift 7oz (200g) plain flour and pinch of salt into a bowl. Make well in centre, pour in about 4 fl oz (120ml) cold water, a few drops lemon juice and the melt butter. Knead lightly, then leave to rest for 20 mins. On a floured board, roll pastry from 4 sides, leaving a lump in centre – dough should look like a crossroads. Sit remaining butter on the centre lump of the dough and fold over each pastry flap. Pat into a rectangle measuring about 6 x 12in (15 x 30cm), refrigerate for 10-15 mins. Roll pastry lengthways until double in length. Fold both ends into centre, then fold once more. This is called a double turn. Complete process a further 3 times. Always roll with folded edge on left and leave to rest for 20-30 mins in fridge before each turn. Leave pastry in fridge for a further 30 mins before using. This makes roughly 1 lb (450g) of pastry but you can freeze the excess.
  • In a large frying pan, heat oil and fry onions for a few minutes until softened. Make sure onions do not brown. Allow to cool.
  • Roll out puff pastry very thinly into a 12in (30cm) square. Cut square in half and on one half only, spread a little mustard, according to your taste. Then spread with the onions, bacon and cheese and cover with the remaining pastry half. Roll up pastry parcel like a Swiss roll, then leave to rest in fridge for 1-2 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 220oC/425oF/Gas Mark 7. Remove roll from fridge, cut into ¾ in (18mm) slices, place on a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake for 12-15 mins until golden.

Bacon & Onion Tart

Serves: 6; Prep: 15 minutes; Cook: 40-50 minutes; Cals per portion: 354

A crispy short-crust pastry tart with a creamy onion filling – ideal for a summer picnic.

Ingredients:
Pastry: 6oz/175g plain flour; 1/2 tsp/2.5ml salt; 3oz/75g hard margarine; 2-3 tblsp/30-45ml water
Filling: 2oz/50g butter; 1 lb/450g onions, chopped; 2 rashers bacon, chopped; 1 1/2oz/40g flour; 7 fl oz/200ml milk; 2 eggs; salt and freshly ground black pepper; 8 in / 21cm flan tin, greased

  • Preheat the oven to Mark 5 / 375oF / 190oC. Sieve the flour and salt into a small bowl. Cut margarine into small pieces and rub it into flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add enough cold water to mix to a firm dough. Roll out on floured board and line the tin.
  • Melt butter in pan, add onions and bacon and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, stir in flour and mix well. Beat milk with eggs and pour over onions, mixing well. Season and pour into flan case. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Serve.

Parma Ham and Tomato Tart

Serves 4; Cals per portion: 545

Ingredients: 225g (8oz) short-crust pastry; 30ml (2 tbsp) finely grated parmesan cheese; 175mg (6oz) Parma ham; 4 large plum tomatoes; 50g (2oz) pine nuts; 45m (3 tblsp) olive oil.

  • On a lightly floured surface roll out the pastry thinly and sprinkle the Parmesan Cheese over the top. Roll over the pastry with a rolling pin to press the cheese into the pastry. Use the pastry to line a 23cm (9in) fluted flan tin then prick all over with a fork.
  • Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans (or dried pulses). Bake blind at 200oC, 400oF, Gas 6 for 20 mins. Remove the lining and the beans and bake for a further 5-10 mins until the pastry case is crisp and golden. Leave to cool.
  • Fill the cooled pastry case with the strips of Parma ham, tomato wedges and pine nuts. Drizzle with 30ml (2tblsp) of the olive oil and place under a pre-heated moderate grill for 5-10 mins until the tomatoes begin to soften slightly.

Cheesy Ham Flan

Serves: 4; Prep: 20 mins: Cook: 30 min: Calories per portion: 618

This crisp pastry case with a rich and cheesy filling is perfect for a family lunch.

Ingredients: 8oz/225g short-crust pastry; 1 tblsp/15ml oil; 1 leek, washed and sliced; 1oz/25g butter; 1oz/25g plain flour; 1 tsp/5ml mustard; 3/4pt/450ml milk; salt and pepper; 4oz/125g cheddar cheese; 6oz/175g lean ham, chopped; 1 tbsp/15ml white breadcrumbs; 8in/20cm flan dish

  • Preheat the oven to Mark 4 / 350oF / 180oC. Grease the flan dish. Roll out the pastry, line the dish and trim pastry.
  • Heat the oil in a pan and fry the sliced leek for a few minutes, until it begins to soften.
  • Melt butter in a pan, stir in flour and mustard and cook for 1 minute. Add milk, beating thoroughly between each addition to remove lumps. Season to taste. Bring to boil and simmer for 2 minutes.
  • Stir in 3oz/75g of the cheese. Mix the leeks and ham into the sauce and pour into flan. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and remaining cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, until pastry is golden. Serve with vegetables.

Chicken Pie with Cream and Mushrooms

Serves:  4-6

Ingredients:  1 boiling fowl or roasting chicken, weighing 1.35-1.6kg/3-3 ½ lb, preferably free range; 2 onions, sliced; 3 carrots, sliced; 2 celery sticks, sliced into crescents; 3 sprigs of parsley, tied together; 1 bay leaf; salt and freshly ground pepper; 45g/1 ½ oz butter; 45g/1 ½ oz plain flour; 115g/4oz button mushrooms; 115g/4oz lean sausage meat, rolled into marble, size balls; 150ml / ¼ pt double cream; shortcrust or rough puff pastry made with 170g/6oz flour; 1 egg yolk, beaten (optional)

  • Put the fowl or chicken into a large pan with the sliced vegetables and the herbs.  Cover with cold water and bring slowly to the boil, skimming off the froth and scrum.  Leave to simmer  for 30 min.  Add a little salt, and continue simmering until the chicken is cooked – this will take 45 min – 1 hour longer.  Let it cool in its broth if there is time, then remove the bird and take the meat off the bones.
  • Make a white sauce with the butter, flour and 450ml / ¾ pt of the strained chicken broth.  Season it well.  Stir in the mushrooms.  Leave to cook gently while you lightly fry the sausage meatballs in a small frying pan for a few min.  Drain them on kitchen paper.  Stir the cream, meatballs and chicken meat very gently into the sauce.  Place a pie funnel in a large pie dish, pour mixture into dish around the funnel and allow to cool.
  • Preheat the oven to 200oC/400oF/Gas Mark 6.  Roll out the pastry dough to about 5mm/¼ in thick.  Use to cover the pie dish, making a hole in the pastry lid over the funnel.  Brush the pastry lid with the egg yolk or the last few drops in the cream pot.  Bake for 12-15 min.  Then turn the oven down to 180oC/350oF/Gas Mark 4 and bake for a further 15-20 mins.