Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Gooseberry and hazelnut frangipane tart

Gooseberry and hazelnut frangipane tart

I'd like to say this 'rustic' look was deliberate but, in truth, I overfilled the tart case and just got away without a Vesuvius-like eruption all over the oven floor.  As it turned out, it was definitely worth the risk.

For the first year I can remember the start of the gooseberry harvest didn't coincide with the blossoming of the Elder trees, at least not on my allotment.  Gooseberries and Elderflowers are linked so intrinsically in my mind that when one appears I look, and expect to find, the other. There is no arguing with some seasonal pairings.  The pulling of the first garden rhubarb calls for the leaves of Sweet Cicely which I grow alongside the rhubarb; the arrival of the first peaches makes me look for sherbetty Lemon Verbena which each year sprout from the most unpromising looking stems, and the best high-summer tomatoes co-incide with the short time, in our climate, when we can grow basil outside.

The elderflower being over before the gooseberries were ready meant reaching for the Elderflower cordial for a flavour of flowery muscat in syrup form this year - arguably even better!  Right now we can't pick gooseberries quickly enough.  Containers of green to honey-coloured globes are being passed to friends to feed a need for the unique, grassy, tartness.

I've posted a few recipes for gooseberries before but here's a new one inspired by some particularly delicious frangipane tarts recently eaten, but cooked by others.  I often pair hazelnuts with gooseberries - sprinkled on a compote topped with a creamy syllabub, or with hazelnut meringue and cream so the frangipane here is made with ground hazelnuts rather than the more usual almonds.

Pre-bake the tart case really well and, if the compote is very loose, sieve out excessive juice before adding the elderflower cordial to prevent  too liquid a bottom layer.  You could, instead, use gooseberry jam if you have it.  Out of Gooseberry season you could dispense with the whole gooseberries and use compote or jam for your base.  You'll get the flavour of gooseberries but without the sharp tang of the unsweetened whole berries which does add an extra dimension.  I've adjusted the recipe since that first attempt and these quantities perfectly fill a 20cm x 3.5cm deep tin.

Gooseberry and hazelnut frangipane tart slice

Gooseberry and hazelnut frangipane tart
(Serves 6-8)

PASTRY (makes 2 x 20cm x 3.5cm deep tart cases – you’ll need one for this recipe, but raw pastry freezes well):
250g (10oz) plain flour
25g (1oz) ground almonds
Pinch of salt
150g(6oz) cold butter
75g (3oz) icing sugar
Grated rind of half a lemon
1 egg yolk
3 tablespoons milk

100g room temperature unsalted butter 
100g caster sugar
1 large eggs
100g ground hazelnuts 

150g gooseberries, topped and tailed
20g butter 
30g caster sugar
1tbsp elderflower cordial (optional)

WHOLE FRUIT: 150g whole gooseberries, topped and tailed

Make the compote by melting the butter and adding the berries.  Place a lid on the pan and cook for about 5 minutes until the berries turn yellow.  Remove from the heat, mash lightly with a fork and add the sugar and elderflower cordial (if using). Put aside to cool.

Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and add the ground almonds and salt. Add the butter and rub in with fingertips. Sift in icing sugar and add grated lemon rind and mix. Lightly beat the egg yolk and milk together and stir it into the dry ingredients. Mix just until the dough just comes together then turn out and knead gently to smooth the surface.  Wrap half of the pastry and rest in fridge for just 30 minutes (wrap and freeze the other half for another time).  

Pre-heat the oven to 200C (180C fan oven) Lightly butter a 20cm x 3.5cm deep loose-bottomed tart tin.   Roll out the pastry thinly and line the tin, smoothing off the top and pricking the base. Rest in the fridge for a further 15-30 minutes.  Line with greasproof paper and dried beans and bake the tart blind for 12 minutes.  Remove the lining and beans and return the tart to the oven for a further 5 minutes or so to make sure the base is cooked and lightly browned.  Remove from the oven and put to one side. 

Turn the oven temperature down to 180C (160C fan oven).  
Mix the butter then add the caster sugar and mix really well.  Mix the eggs together and add gradually to the mixture beating really well.  Gently fold in the ground hazelnuts.  
Spread the gooseberry compote over the base of the tart.  Spread the frangipane right to the edges of the tart.  Push the whole gooseberries into the frangipane.  
Bake in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes then check to see if it's browning too much - if it is, place a piece of foil over the tart and continue cooking for a further 10-15 minutes.  The filling should be set almost to the centre of the tart.

Links to other Gooseberry recipes:

Gooseberry Elderflower Syllabub
Gooseberry Polenta Cake
Gooseberry Meringue Pie