Sunday, 3 August 2008

Sugar High Friday #45 - Berries

and a first for me, food processor shortcrust pastry!

I've been thinking about Sugar High Friday all month and had decided to make a blackberry cake topped with meringue but at the last minute we went to the organic farmers market this morning and got organic gooseberries that were freshly picked and also some organic redcurrants too. So I changed my mind about what I was going to make and decided on a gooseberry tart.

In the vein of recent reminiscent posts on Helens blog I have been thinking about my grandparents a lot and particularly my maternal grandfather Michael, he was a tall and wonderful man from a small island off the southern coast of Ireland called Cape Clear (or Oileán Chléire in Irish), he became a teacher and moved to Co. Clare, where my heart lies and this is where he met my grandmother Bríd and they married, moved to Dublin and had 4 children; my mother, my aunt who is also my surrogate mother, my uncle who lives in Australia and my second uncle who lives in the south of Ireland and is a bear of a man vey like my grandfather in height and looks who I am extremely fond of.

My memories of my grandfather, who died when I was quite young, are still very strong, I remember the day he died and how hard it rained, I remember him handing us biscuits that christmas from an assorted tin of biscuits which were and still are very popular in Ireland at christmas time. My main memory though is gooseberries, jam and eating them off the bush in his garden, the sharp sweetness, the lovely crunch when you bit into one and the prickly skin. I don't think I've had gooseberries since I was a child so grandad, this tart reminds me of you and how much I wish you had seen me turn into the married woman that I am today. Crap, I am also premenstrual and crying at something I don't think I've ever cried about before, so apologies if I've gotten a little deep in this post and we haven't even gotten to the recipe yet!!!

Firstly, the food processor pastry which have never made before and am sure purists think is scandalous but seeing as I felt lazy it was easy and is flavoured with vanilla which will compliment the gooseberries perfectly.

From Donna Hay magazine issue 38

250g plain, all purpose flour
1 tbsp caster sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
180g cold butter, chopped
80ml iced water
1 tsp vanilla extract

Put the flour, caster sugar and baking powder into a food processor and mix.
Add the butter and process until it resembles bread crumbs.
With the motor running, add the water and vanilla essence and process until it all comes together.
Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 mins.

For the gooseberry tart, taken from Rachel's Favourite Food for Friends by Rachel Allen:

1lb of gooseberries, cleaned and de-stalked (is that a word??)
100g sugar
1 tbsp water

Put the gooseberries, sugar and water in a pot and heat for 4-5 mins until the gooseberries have softened. Turn off the heat and allow to cool in the syrup.

Blind bake your pastry at Gas 3/160 for 15 mins then egg wash and bake for another 15 mins, I used a 14x4 inch long rectangular tart tin. Drain the gooseberries from the syrup and place them in the bottom of the tart.

For the custard:

250ml cream
100g sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs

Mix the eggs, sugar and vanilla together and then add the cream. Whisk until well mixed and pour over the gooseberries. Bake for 35-40 mins until the custard is set. Allow to cool and serve with whipped cream and a berry or 2 if you have some left.

This tart was gorgeous, light and custardy with a fantastic tartness from the gooseberries, the perfect combination of sweet and sour to my mind. A perfect summer tart I think, and the pastry was lovely despite it being not my usual method of making it. Special thanks to Susan from Food Blogga for hosting this month and also as usual to Jennifer of the Domestic Goddess for inventing this whole hoopla!


Susan from Food Blogga said...

What could be more delicious than warm memories of your granddad? Thank you, Rachel, for a lovely post and a lovely tart.

Tartelette said...

what a great story and a great tart!

Alexa said...

What a wonderful, heart warming post! The tart looks delicious and so pretty as well.

Anonymous said...

(came here from SHF)

That's a sweet story - isn't it great when food brings memories of those we love?

And I'm glad to see a gooseberry recipe. I found that I have them growing in my backyard, so I'm going to be needing more recipes in the future! (And as far as "de-stalking" is concerned: the page of recipes I got from a vendor who sells them at our farmer's market said "stem and tail the berries." Tail is a whole lot easier to say than what I was using last week ("those stem like things opposite the stems" :^).

jen said...

Gooseberries - love them! Haven't seen any recently, so I'll keep my eyes peeled and get along to a farmers market soon.

This looks just just gorgeous :-) And it's lovely to have such great memories of your grandad.

Poonam said...

A very touching post and a great tart!

Lyndar said...

Aw missus, what a *lovely* post! And very nice-lookin tart!

elga said...

Hi! I'm Elga, from Italy, I'm a Daring Bakers member too, and I like very much your blog, and your recipes! See you soon, Elga

Aimée said...

Custard AND fresh berries! How elegant and you've given us a lovely piece of your history to go alongside a slice of your tart.

Anonymous said...

What a gorgeous tart and what a lovely post. Thank you for sharing Rachel :)

Jeena said...

You almost had me crying with this post! Lovely recipe and lovely memories. :-)

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

Gooseberries are my husband's favorite. His love of them is also attached to sweet family memories. Sadly, we rarely see them in Florida, and when we do, they're the size of raisins.

Your tart looks lovely. I'd love a slice right now! ;)

cakewardrobe said...

Lovely story about your grandfather. Sometimes, it's just the littlest things that touch your heart.

Brilynn said...

I love gooseberries, they make me think of being a kid again. We had a bush in our backyard when I was little and I used to eat tons of them.
This tart looks fabulous!

Anonymous said...

OOOH ur a lovely tart!!!!xx PS its miriam xxxx

The Blonde Duck said...

I love your blog! It's so light and wonderful! It makes me feel like I was twirling around cupcakes and cheesecakes!

Rhyleysgranny said...

Ah 'Goosegogs' Brings back memories of my childhood. My Mum always made Goosegog jam. I remember eating them from the bushes and feeling my cheeks go together:)
Looks a lovely tart.

Annie said...

That post brought back so many happy memories of my own grandparents who I miss dearly so thank you very very much!

That tart sounds absolutely scrumptious!

kabonfootprint said...

when my grandpa died I was half bitter coz of something i thought he did... one of the greatest regrets of my life.

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JillyB said...

What a great idea to add some vanilla to your pastry, I'll be trying that for sure.