Ah yes …as we tip slightly towards autumn here in the uk and summer days start getting shorter… and I can’t move in my garden without going face first into a spider’s web ! my thoughts turn to the fruits now coming into season. Apples are on the verge..with pears soon to follow, but now it’s pretty much the turn of the plum.
English plums, all swollen and purpley (sniggers ) are appearing on the supermarket shelves, but nestled amongst the fruit aisle you may find a pile of greengages. Now greengages are grown in the uk, but were first cultivated in france where they’re also know as Reine Claudes vertes. They are also thought to be the finest plum to use in flour confectionary as they have a stronger flavour and are surprisingly sweet when ripe. (most plums do not carry a strong flavour when cooking, and need some spicing up to bring flavour out)
I made a lovely tart in the restaurant recently with these plump green beauties, based with a light custard made with creme fraiche and ginger, which I thought complimented the fruits perfectly.
If you can’t get greengages, or they are out of season, try using a different type of plum, its just as nice with a bright red juicy or purple variety.
Have a bash…its lovely served with clotted cream, or even a nice honey flavoured ice cream !
YOU WILL NEED:
an 9-10 inch tart ring
A lot of greengages
An oven pre-heated to 160c
that is all 😉
INGREDIENTS – Pastry
300g plain flour.
150g unsalted butter
100g caster sugar.
seeds from 1 vanilla pod, or 1 tsp vanilla essence.
pinch of cinnamon.
pinch of salt.
Zest of half a lemon
1 medium eggs
(1 egg yolk to glaze tart shell)
METHOD – pastry
Rub the flour cinnamon sugar and butter together until a crumble is formed.
Add egg ( don’t worry if it seems a bit wet) wrap in clingfilm and place in fridge for a couple of hours.
INGREDIENTS – Ginger custard filling & fruit.
150g full fat creme fraiche
200ml double cream
2 large eggs
100g castor sugar
1tsp ground ginger
20-24 ripe greengages (If you end up with some left, just scoff them while waiting for tart to bake)
Couple of pinches of ground nutmeg (optional)
METHOD – custard
place all ingredients in a bowl, whisk together, then pass through a fine sieve into a jug.
ASSEMBLING THE TART –
Make your pastry, chill for about half an hour to rest, then roll out to about 1/2 cm thick.
Grease the tart ring and place on a tray lined with baking parchment (note: a loose base tart tin can be used for this recipe)
Line the ring with pastry, allowing an overlap over the edge, make sure paste is tucked right into sides of base and there are no holes or cracks.
Line inside of tart with parchment and baking beans.
Bake in a pe-heated oven at 160c for 10 mins, so pastry is not cooked completely but has a dry light appearance.
Take out beans and brush inside of tart with egg yolk, put back in oven for 3 minutes, this will seal the base and fill any small holes or cracks.
Half and stone the greengages, arrange in base of tart going around in a circle until you reach the centre, bunch them up tightly, it may a look a lot but the fruit shrinks during cooking.
Next pour over the custard filling until tart is full up to the top.
sprinkle with nutmeg if desired.
Bake in your oven at 160c for 25 mins, or until custard is set and starts to colour slightly.
Take out and cool, when its cool trim of the excess pastry with a knife. Remember to cut away from yourself…no disemboweling please 😉
Serve dusted with icing sugar, with cream ( clotted is nice ) or an ice cream of your choice.
METHOD GALLERY – click on any image to enlarge.
©The cake-shaker 2012