Thursday, 27 November 2014

Rustic tart

We have some seriously great neighbours in our street, some of whom we’re also lucky enough to call friends.
It’s one of those streets I thought no longer existed in the city - where kids from different houses play together, people stop and chat as they’re walking down the road and in our case, a quick exchange of text messages results in a much needed cup of coffee, chat and play for the littlies.
Sounds a little like an ad for cheap instant coffee doesn’t it? Perhaps... but we drink better coffee.
It’s also handy when a neighbour finds themselves with an excess of something, like an abundant fruiting lemon tree in their front yard they don’t mind us pilfering from (I asked the first time, I figure that yes carries right through the season).
Recently, our lovely neighbours/friends found themselves with a load of strawberries and dropped off two big containers full to us.
That led to me making this scrumptious rustic tart, which originally comes from wholefood cooking queen Jude Blereau.
You can make it with any fruit and in my opinion the wholemeal flour in the pastry adds an amazing texture.
It’s a perfect spring dessert, especially served warm with a dollop of cream or natural Greek yoghurt.

Jude’s Rustic Tart

2 cups wholemeal flour
1 1/2 tablespoons raw castor sugar
180g unsalted butter
6 - 11 tablespoons ice cold water 

1-1.3kg of fruit (I used a combination of strawberries and apples)
1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch or flour (I omitted this as my fruit wasn’t especially juicy due to the combo I used)

Preheat your oven to 200C.
Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour and sugar until it is incorporated into the flour, but still quite chunky. If using a food processor, pulse one or two times.
Don’t be tempted to add the water to the food processor as it is too easy to overwork the pastry.

Using a bread and butter knife, begin to mix the cold water into the flour and butter. Add a small amount of water, begin to cut and mix it in with the knife. As you continue to add the water, little bit by little bit, you are cutting the wet bits into the dry bits, cutting, mixing and stirring.
Only as much water as you need and once all the mix looks moist, bring it together into a ball but DO NOT knead or play with it.
Flatten the ball, wrap in cling film and chill long enough to take the softness of the butter - about 20 mins.
Roll out pastry in between baking paper to approx 30 - 35cm diameter circle. Between rolling, sprinkle the pastry and paper with a little flour - this will enable you to easily fold the edges later on. Place on a tray lined with baking paper.
Prepare your fruit by cutting and placing in a bowl, tossing gently with the maple syrup and cornstarch.

Arrange prepared fruit in an attractive pattern, or simply pile it into the middle and gently spread to leave a border (enough to fold edges).
Fold pastry border over fruit, peeling it from the paper underneath as you go.
Sprinkle with a little extra golden castor sugar if desired and bake in a hot oven for about 15 mins, before reducing temperature to moderate for about 35 minutes, or until the pastry is lightly golden, and juices are bubbling.
Allow to cool slightly before serving.

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