I love the rustic nature of this tart.
Usually when cooking with pastry, you need to get things ‘just right’. Rolled to an even thickness and then into a perfect shape for a tin. Then the pastry needs to make it into the tin without breaking before it is ‘blind baked’, a process whereby you place dried beans or rice on top of some baking paper inside the tart shell to bake it before the filling is added. I don’t mean to scare you off, it isn’t overly difficult, but it can be fiddly and time consuming if you have not done it a few times over.
Never fear friend, as none of this is required with this tart, hence why I was able to make it over the weekend, without much stress or fanfare, even as the kids where running in and out and the Roast Chook was cooking away in the oven.
My in-laws had arrived to stay for a few days and came bearing freshly picked blackberries from the side of the road near their farm, on the other side of the Blue Mountains.
My perfect kind of present, I washed them and placed them in a bowl and wondered what I would do with them next.
Enter Maggie Beers simple French-style tart.
Her famous sour cream pastry is made in the food processor, rested as all pastry needs in the fridge and then rolled out to a rough thickness, in a rough shape of whatever takes your fancy.
A beautiful mixture, known as a ‘frangipane’ is also made in the food processor. This french term basically describes a mixture of butter, sugar, eggs and ground almonds and is what you will almost always find in store-bought fruit tarts.
Then you get to place whatever fruit you love over the top, fold the edges over and bake the whole tart in the oven.
Enjoy it warm from the oven with cream or ice-cream, or, as we also discovered, at room temperature the next day as leftovers with a cup of tea.
I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there is something about bringing a freshly cooked tart or pie to a table full of people that makes me feel completely satisfied, if at least just for that moment.
I would encourage anyone wanting to start playing with pastry, to begin with this recipe. You can’t stuff it up and then it will give you the confidence to try another more tricky pastry recipe soon.
- 200 grams chilled unsalted butter, chopped
- 300 grams plain flour
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 125 grams unsalted butter, softened
- 150 grams castor sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup brandy or whisky
- 2 tablespoons plain flour
- 200 grams almond or hazelnut meal
- approx 3-4 nectarines, sliced thinly into wedges (or if using plums or apricots, just halve them)
- 125 grams of fresh blackberries
- 2 teaspoons milk plus 1 egg yolk (for glazing the pastry)
- Pulse butter and flour in a food processor until it resembles breadcrumbs.
- Add sour cream and pulse until it comes together in a ball and clears the sides of the bowl.
- Remove, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill for 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 190 degrees celsius.
- Place the butter and sugar in the food processor and whiz until thick, pale and creamy.
- Add the eggs one at a time, stopping and scraping down the sides occasionally.
- Add the remaining ingredients and whiz until combined.
- Set aside.
- Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
- Roll pastry on a lightly floured surface, till about 5mm thick. It can be rectangle, round or oval, whatever takes your fancy.
- Spread the filling over the top, leaving a 5cm boarder.
- Arrange the fruit on top.
- Fold the pastry edges over, and using a pastry brush, brush the edges with the combined milk and egg yolk.
- Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until fruit soft and pastry golden.
- Dust with icing sugar to serve.
- Any fruit you like would work in this tart. Peaches, plums, apricots, cherries, raspberries, pears or apples. If the fruit is smaller, you will obviously need more to fill the tart. For example you may need 10-15 small plums or apricots instead of 4 large nectarines as the recipe states.
- You can use as much or as little fruit as you like.