Monthly Archives: September 2016

Blueberry Crostata

blueberry-crostataIn Italy “crostata” (an Italian baked tart or pie) is very popular and I grew up eating so many of them, typically made with jam or fruit preserves such as apricot, cherry, peach or berries. These are the most traditional ones but I like to change it and include fresh fruit. You can use any kind of fruit, ricotta or even just Nutella for the kids. The best part is the mouth-watering shortcrust pastry!

It’s perfect with a cup of tea or coffee. So what are you waiting for? Give it a try and bake this one with blueberries, you won’t regret it!

Shortcrust pastry:

270 gm softened butter
60 gm pure icing sugar, sieved
3 egg yolks
370 gm plain flour
Scraped seeds from ½ vanilla bean

Inside the tart:

600 gm blueberries (You can even use frozen blueberries or raspberries if you prefer)
55 gm (¼ cup) caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
2 tbsp plain flour
Finely grated rind of ½ lemon
Scraped seeds of 1 vanilla bean
For brushing: eggwash

1- To make the shortcrust pastry, beat butter in an electric mixer until pale, add icing sugar and yolks and beat to combine, then add flour and vanilla seeds and stir to combine. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate to rest (30 minutes).

2- Roll out two-thirds of pastry to 5mm thick on a lightly floured surface, line a 24cm tart ring, trim edges, then refrigerate to rest (30 minutes). Roll out remaining pastry to 5mm thick and cut into 3cm strips with a serrated cutter. Refrigerate until required.

3- Preheat oven to 170C. Combine blueberries, sugar, flour, lemon rind and vanilla seeds in a bowl, toss to combine and place in tart base, then arrange strips of remaining pastry to create a lattice pattern on top. Brush with eggwash, scatter with extra sugar and bake until golden and bubbling (1-1¼ hours).

Serve warm or at room temperature with hazelnut ice-cream if you have some or any other ice cream will be perfect!

Coconut and Lime Tart

coconut-lime-tartExperience a totally tropical taste with this lime and coconut tart – complete with toasted coconut. This recipe is simple to make but the flavours will certainly impress your dinner party guests.

• 250g digestive biscuits
• 50g desiccated coconut
• 140g butter, melted
• 160ml coconut milk
• 397g tin condensed milk
• 250ml carton coconut cream
• 140ml lime juice (around 9 limes)
• 2 large free-range eggs and 5 yolks
• Toasted coconut shavings and lime zest shreds to serve
1. Heat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4. Whizz the biscuits and coconut in a food processor until they form fine crumbs. Pour in the butter and, with the motor still running, whizz until the mixture has the texture of wet sand. Tip into a 23cm x 5cm deep fluted tart tin with a removable base and press firmly into the base and up the sides to form the tart case (it needs to be well packed to hold together). Chill in the freezer for 10 minutes or in the fridge for 20.
2. Remove from the fridge or freezer, then put on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes until evenly golden and smelling toasted. Don’t worry if a little butter escapes from the base. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely. Turn the oven down to 130°C/fan110°C/gas ¾.
3. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, whisk the coconut milk, condensed milk, coconut cream, lime juice, eggs and yolks together with a balloon whisk until smooth (don’t worry about the odd small lump of coconut). Leave to infuse while the tart case cooks and cools, then sieve into the cooled tart case and return to the oven.
4. Bake for 50-60 minutes until the filling is set but still with a slight wobble in the middle. Remove from the oven and cool completely, then put in the fridge and chill overnight. Serve sprinkled with shavings of toasted coconut and fine strips of lime zest.

This gorgeous tart will actually benefit from a night in the fridge as it will firm up the texture and make it easier to cut. Take out of the fridge 40-60 minutes before serving, so it can come back to room temperature.

Lightly whisk leftover egg whites, then put in a sealable plastic bag (marked with the number of whites and the date) and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge, then use for meringues. Alternatively, use them to make chocolate mousse.

Make the tart and keep it chilled in the fridge for up to 24 hours before serving.