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cream

berry-tarts-051
Desserts,

Berry Tarts

What could be sweeter than an individual berry tart, this is a quick and easy version of the French fruit tart. The filling is a heavenly mix of whipped cream, lemon curd and vanilla instead of the heavier traditional filling of creme anglaise. Of course use your favorite berries – mine are raspberries which I feel complement the lemon nicely. Although the pastry is very easy to make, if you just don’t have the time or have a bit of a mental block about pastry (as I do about yeast) you could always use a store bought roll out variety – nobody needs to be the wiser. On the other hand if you didn’t want to use store bought lemon curd you could make your own, which although time consuming, is wonderfully delicious. Here is a fabulous lemon curd recipe from the BBC and also here from Carmen Rose’s Mi Cocina.

For the pastry:

2 sticks of unsalted butter (diced and cold)
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon zest of lemon
1/2 cup iced water with a dash of vanilla extract.

For the filling:

1 small store bought jar of lemon curd (or homemade)
8 oz heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
2 pints fresh raspberries

1. To make the pastry, combine the flour, sugar and lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the ingredients are combined.

2. Add the diced butter a couple of cubes at a time and pulse until the mixture looks like course breadcrumbs.

3.  Pour the iced vanilla water slowly into the flour mixture and process until it clumps together. You may not need all the water, go slowly.

4. Take the dough out of the processor and place onto a couple of sheets of plastic wrap, bring the dough together gently and shape into a disc. Wrap in the plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least an hour.

5. Heat the oven to 350 F.

6. While the pastry is chilling flour and butter your tart pans, you could use one large one or multiple small ones.

7. Take the pastry out of the fridge and roll out on a floured surface. Cut out discs and line the tart pans. Pick well with a fork making sure you don’t pierce right the way through the tarts.

8. Place some greased aluminum foil on top of the pastry and fill with baking beans. Bake blind for approximately 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, remove the baking beans and aluminum foil and return to the oven for a further 5 – 10 minutes or until just turning a light golden color. (If you are using one large tart pan adjust the baking times accordingly).  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

9. Whip the heavy cream together with 1 tablespoon of confectioner’s sugar and vanilla extract. Gently fold in three quarters of the lemon curd.

10.  Spread the remainder of the lemon curd on the bottom of the tart shells. Fill with the lemony cream mixture. Arrange the raspberries on top and dust with the rest of the confectioner’s sugar.

lemon posset
Drinks,

Lemon Posset

I was fortunate enough to taste this sublime dessert at The Three Horseshoes Pub at Elsted, West Sussex when I was visiting my family in England. Deep in the depths of the idyllic English countryside we enjoyed a lovely fireside dinner. It was a very special evening but when I tasted this dessert I was practically swooning. I’ve done my very best to recreate this old fashioned British classic and judging by my family’s reaction (they polished it off in no time) I think I’ve come pretty close.

 

Possets are old English fare, they date back to the 1600s when they where used as medicinal drinks to treat fevers and colds. King Charles I was apparently given a posset to drink when he was feeling unwell, although it didn’t do him too much good in the long run as he was eventually beheaded, poor chap. But on to happier fare – now possets are more mousse like and so entirely happily delicious.

It’s so easy to make it’s almost ridiculous. It’s amazing to me just how delicious a dessert can be with minimum effort and such a short list of ingredients. It’s perfect for summer, sprinkle a few of your favorite berries over the top or do as my husband suggested, add some granola and a drizzle of honey – delicious!

Lemon Posset

  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest and juice of a lemon
  • A handful of fresh berries

Method:

1. Bring cream and sugar to boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil for approximately 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

2. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice and zest, cool for approximately 10-15 minutes.

3. Stir mixture again and divide among  ramekins. Cover the possets with cling film and place in the fridge until set, at least 4 hours or overnight.

4. To serve scatter a few berries over the top of each posset and serve.