(Sorry this isn’t actually a picture of the whole tart – by the time I remembered to take a photo, one and half tarts had disappeared! Also, my wine intake over the course of the evening may have impacted on the quality of the photo…)
(How it should look! Photographs: Jonathan Lovekin for the Observer)
Recently the OH and I had the pleasure of inviting my ex-flatmates and their respective partners over for dinner at our relatively-new flat. It was a wonderful evening and totally relaxed. And at least part of that was down to the pudding having been taken care of with minimal fuss.
Our local fruit and veg market has some fab deals on seasonal produce, and so I ended up with 1kg of greengages for £2! Bargain! (I do like a bargain…) So it seemed logical to use them in a pudding for the dinner party. If you’ve never had greengages they are a green (duh) plum-like fruit, with a slightly sharper and fresher flavour. You could use a wide range of fruits if you can’t get greengages: pears, plums, or peaches would work as well (anything that goes with almonds, really!)
Nigel Slater supplied the following recipe, and I supplied the cheat 🙂
Greengage frangipan tart
SERVES 8 (Honestly, you can get 12 out of this as it’s quite rich)
For the pastry: (or CHEAT by buying pre-made pastry cases – I used 2 small ones)
egg yolk 1
water a little
For the filling:
caster sugar 125g
ground almonds 125g
plain flour 60g
greengages or small plums 400g
You will also need:
a round 22cm tart tin at least 3.5cm deep with a removable base
beans for baking blind
Put the flour and butter, cut into small pieces, into the bowl of a food processor. Add a pinch of salt and blitz to fine breadcrumbs. If you prefer, rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips. Add the egg yolk and enough water to bring the dough to a firm ball. The less you add the better, as too much will cause your pastry case to shrink in the oven.
Pat the pastry into a flat round on a floured surface, then roll out large enough to line the tart tin. Lightly butter the tin, dust it with a small amount of flour, shake off any surplus then lower in the round of pastry. Push the dough right into the corner where the rim joins the base without stretching the pastry. Make certain there are no holes or tears. Trim the overhanging pastry and place in the fridge to chill for about 20 minutes.
Set the oven at 200C/gas mark 6. Put a baking sheet in the oven to warm. Line the pastry case with kitchen foil or baking parchment and baking beans and slide on to the hot baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and carefully lift the beans out. Return the pastry case to the oven for 5 minutes or so, until the surface is dry to the touch. Remove from the oven and set aside. Turn the oven down to 160C/gas mark 3, and return the baking sheet to the oven.
(If cheating then all you need to do is put the filling into the tart case and bake – great if you’re pushed for time but still want something a bit more complicated than fruit salad and a scoop of icecream)
To make the filling, using a food mixer cream the butter and sugar together till pale and fluffy. Lower the speed, then mix in the eggs and then slowly fold in the ground almonds and flour. Spoon the almond filling into the cooked pastry case, smoothing it lightly with the back of the spoon.
Cut the greengages or plums in half and remove their stones. Place the greengages or plums on top of the almond filling, neatly or randomly as the mood takes you. Slide the tart on to the hot baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes till the filling is well risen and golden brown. Remove the tart from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.
I sprinkled mine with toasted almonds for a contrast of texture and as a finishing touch.