I’ve been doing so much batch cooking lately that my freezer is filled with plastic tubs of risotto, homemade baked beans and vegetarian lentil stew. I’m now running out of space so I’ve been hunting for inspiration for recipes to use up some of the fruit that’s in the freezer to make room!
In my freezer I have dessert gooseberries, raspberries, blackberries, sloes, strawberries and grapes.
The first thing I thought I would try was an interesting recipe from Delia Smith for gooseberry custard tart. Her recipe didn’t seem too complicated so I thought I would give it a go. While her recipe inspired mine, I didn’t follow it exactly – this is a mixture of arrogance, laziness and curiosity on my part – this attitude to cooking has resulted in some incredible kitchen fails (I promise to share a few some time) but also resulted in some damn fine food. And I am ok with that! So, as much as I love and respect you Delia, I ignored your suggestion to make pastry with lard but no sugar in it; my pastry is an extremely short all butter pastry made with icing sugar in it to counteract a little of the tartness in those gooseberries. I am so glad I trusted my instincts – it would have been far too sour for me without the additional lift from the sweetened crust. Delia made her custard with creme fraiche and egg yolks, mine was made with Greek yoghurt, simply because I didn’t have creme fraiche and I honestly didn’t think it would matter. This tart was very, well, tart, but if you wanted it to be sweeter you could definitely add more sugar – or serve with something extra sweet on the side maybe? I used dessert gooseberries which are sweeter than regular gooseberries, but still have that tangy sourness.
300g dessert gooseberries topped and tailed
200ml greek yoghurt
2 egg yolks
60g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
dash of balsamic vinegar
200g plain flour
30g icing sugar
80g very cold butter cut into tiny chunks
splash of water
Preheat the oven to 180°C
Sift together the flour and icing sugar. Add the small chunks of very cold butter and cut it together with a butter knife until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add a tiny splash of water and use your hands to bring the dough together – you might need to moisten your fingers a teeny bit to bring all the crumbs from the edge of the bowl. Wrap the dough in cling film and rest it for 20 minutes in the fridge.
Once rested, roll out the dough on a floured surface and press into your flan tin. I used a fluted pyrex dish and I didn’t need to butter it but it depends on your dish. Blind bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Then take out the baking parchment and baking beans and reduce the oven temperature to 160°C – cook for a further 10 minutes until the base is golden.
Mix the yoghurt, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla extract and balsamic vinegar together to make the custard.
Arrange the gooseberries onto the tart and pour over custard.
Place in the oven for a further 15 minutes and then leave to cool and set. Serve!