This little baby has been in my head for sometime as a distant image – I kinda knew what I wanted, but didn’t have time to work it out and thus it missed going into the new book. So you are getting it for Christmas dear reader. As I began to slow down last week, I finally could see (in my mind) how to go about this recipe. As it happened I had a play date set with my gorgeous friend Emma Galloway (My Darling Lemon Thyme) as a chance for us to really catch up before she heads back home to New Zealand. What a truly beautiful soul is Emma – and talented. Given photography is not my strength, and it most certainly is Emma’s, I asked her if she would mind bringing her camera and take some shots. These gorgeous shots you see here are hers, and the making of it was a joint effort :) Needless to say, we did not stop talking from the second she arrived to the second she left. Thank you for the beautiful photos Emm!
It’s very easy, gluten and dairy free. Now I say that not because I think gluten and dairy free means something is wholesome and healthy, but because I like my sweetness a little less rich and lighter when the weather is 40c (as it is want to be on a Perth Christmas Day). For those of you that follow my work, you will see it’s pedigree in the Vanilla Bean Almond Cream and Creamy Cocoa Butter and Vanilla Frosting from Wholefood Baking. Just a couple of things:
- You will need to soak the almonds for the milk overnight to make the almond and coconut milk (and please don’t be tempted to use tetrapak almond milk, it will be watery and not nice. You can however make the almond and coconut milk the day before, so you are ready to go the next day.
- You will really only need about 3/4 of the chocolate biscuit base, but I’m too tired to work that out. I would make it up, and perhaps make little tartlets with the left over !
- This really is best eaten the day it is made -it will also look it’s best. I know that’s not optimal for Christmas, but you could have the milk made, and the strawberry juice made and it really doesn’t take that long to put together.
- Use a good vanilla – I like Heilala
- Dont use a generic agar powder, go to a Natural or Wholefoods store and buy it there. Two good brands are Honest to Goodness or Lotus
- If you are wondering about kudzu, you can find it here (in Australia) here in the U.S
I’d like to ask you something here though… enjoy this recipe and I would love you to share it but please respect the copyright of both myself and Emma. There’s a lot of craziness going on in the blogging and instagram world. I (and others I know) will now often see a recipe that is mine (or theirs) directly posted with no acknowledgement, or a few small changes with no nod to it’s source. I would ask that you please respect this.
It’s been a big year for me, with lots of blessings and challenges. I didn’t run the Whole and Natural Foods Chef Training Program this year as I was exhausted, and with a book to finish. That new book is just about put to bed, my family are well, I am loved and supported by that wonderful family and true friends, I have wonderful neighbours, I’m finally able to own my home and am building, I’ve been doing public classes again and I have the absolute blessing of doing work I love – and I hope, making a positive difference. I got the flu badly (twice), I didn’t balance work and rest too well and I’ve learnt a lot of about false friendships and those that are true – lessons are blessings in their own way as they free you for the new growth, deeper friendships and all that really matters. I go into the new year grateful, loving with arms open wide to embrace the new year with joy.
I wish you and your loved ones a joyful, peaceful and safe Christmas, may you be richly blessed with everything that really matters.
Hello !!! Are you as busy as I am right now, finishing off jobs before Christmas (for me that is putting the new book to bed – going through last pages, checking it twice – and getting my new online tax system finished, making sure my builders are going to get the roof on my new house before Christmas to avoid delays in the new year, thank you notes)….. ? I’ve tidied up the blog a bit (but really it needs a lot more tidying up – as does my garden) and have rounded up some recipes that are 1) Christmas and 2) are great for this time of the year. Please bear in mind, some of these recipes are old (but not bad) and have not imported into the new website beautifully – and, I’m a bit better photographer than before (not a lot, but a bit!) They are still favourites.. especially the puff pastry. I’ll have a new post up next week for a easy, dairy + gluten free + vegan dessert – one of my favourites.
Till then… x jude
The Rustic Tart – it’s a glorious dessert really, just lots of fruit and a little bit of pastry. I like to use a sweet shortcrust for this , but you could also buy a good quality one like the Careme brand, available from all good supermarkets and specialist food stores throughout Australia. I prefer to make this with spelt, I love the flavour and crumb that spelt imparts, and it’s just a little more digestible and more easily tolerated than wheat. If you live in the United States, and would prefer to use wheat I would use a pastry wheat flour, and it will approximately weigh the same (see recipe). You may need to add just a touch more water for wheat.
Now, making pastry. You can do this, it’s not hard. You just need to know the rules for shortcrust pastry world… namely, keep everything cold, and try to touch and play with it as little as possible. You can do it, it’s easier than you think, I promise you. The entire aim is to not overwork the butter into the flour, and the heat from your hands melt it. Don’t play with it (there, I’ve said that again), and don’t keep mixing it once you’ve added the water. This will only help develop gluten, which will make it tough. When rolling, make sure your pastry is cold – if it starts to soften and the butter smears, do not, I repeat do not just keep adding more flour – pop it on a tray lined with baking paper, back into the fridge so it chills up a little, then take it out and go again.
Remember, very cold pastry goes into a very hot oven. As it cooks, butter should sizzle around the base of the tart. Why don’t you give it a go this weekend ? The beautiful photos you see here are by Harriet Harcourt.
I know we are well into 2010, but there’s still time for me to share with you a few of my favorite things from 2009. But what’s that in the picture above??? THAT dear reader is one of my most favorite summer desserts. It’s been a spectacular fruit season here in Perth, Western Australia. Right now I have a tray of mango’s (awaiting the chutney pot and freezer), a big bag of cherries that my daughter Nessie bought back from Manjimup (very sweet, they might not make it to the pie), a big bowl of sublime peaches left over from bottling, and a freezer full of blueberries (thanks to our picking expedition a couple of weeks ago). We have a glut of fruit. I will bottle more, freeze more, jam more and eat more. But tonight, it’s a peach and cherry rustic fruit tart. The picture above is one I did in Melbourne, before Christmas – apricot and cherry. It’s my fall back position for a yummy summer dessert (and left overs for breakfast the next day), as it’s so quick to make and so delicious to eat. Not too much pastry, just enough, and lots of fruit.
But before we go to that, here’s a few of my favorites from 2009:
Some of the best reading of the year – and my vote for best book of the year. All about Urban Farming in the heart of a city.
The Vegetarian Myth
Well written and researched, all vegetarians and vegans should read this. It challenges the premise that a vegetarian and vegan diet is more ethical and sustainable, and is full of common sense.
Fat – a Misunderstood Ingredient
Wonderful recipes, brilliant book.
Tender: Vol 1
Nigel, how do I love thee, let me count the ways. A cook and his garden – what more in a man could a woman want.
Heidi Swanson’s website, full of brilliant meals for everyday eating using whole, natural and sustainable ingredients.
First stop for me when in San Francisco. Beautiful cakes, organic and oh so stylish. So, this is how I get my food porn when in Perth. Go to the Blog.
Rustic Fruit Tart
Pre heat your oven to 200c or 180c if fan forced.
Take a sheet of sweet shortcrust (I do prefer to make my own – you can find it in Wholefood page 208) but if it’s bought or nothing, go buy it. In Australia the Careme brand is available from good shops and will do the trick. Roll out and cut into a large circle – it will be about 35cm wide. Transfer the pastry to a tray, lined with baking paper.
Toss the cut fruit into a bowl (about 1 kg) with some sugar or maple to sweeten (taste the fruit to check) and some flour or arrowroot to thicken the juices (the wetter the fruit, the more you need – about 2 1/2 tablespoons). Oh, and vanilla. Toss together gently and place into the middle of the pastry, leaving a border of approx 6cm. Gently fold the pastry border over the fruit, peeling it from the paper underneath as you go. Sprinkle with a little extra sugar if desired.
Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 180c (about 165c if fan forced) for about 35 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and the juices are bubbling.
Favorite Fruit Mince Tarts
Whilst not quite a meal, but one of my favorite things at Christmas time. There are many a sad and despairing Fruit Mince Tart out there in the world – filled with gum, horrible citrus peel – really, just a memory of their former grand and delicious selves. I like to make a lighter fruit mince and try to make it earlier in the year when apples are in season. For my readers in the Northern Hemisphere, you should have many a delicious apple to choose from. The recipe does make quite a bit, but it will keep in the fridge for ages (I still have some left from last year) and if it’s a bit dry, simply moisten it up with a bit more brandy.
Easy and Light Fruit Mince – Makes 6 cups
300 ml apple juice
250 ml /1 cup apple juice concentrate
1 kg granny smith apples, peeled, cored and finely diced
1 teaspoon mixed spice
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon cinnamon
225gm / 1 ¾ cups seeded raisins, roughly chopped
110gm / ¾ cup currants
125gm/1 cup sultanas
60 gm / 1/3 cup almonds, finely chopped
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
Put all the ingredients except the brandy in a saucepan. Cover and bring to a gentle simmer, then cook for 20 – 50 minutes, allowing the apples to sweat out their juices. Remove the lid and continue to simmer for a further 30 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and the apples have cooked down. I try and mash the apple pieces as I am stirring it. Stir frequently, especially towards the end of cooking.
Remove from heat and allow to cool a little. Stir in the brandy. Keep in the fridge – up to 1 year, or bottle and put through a boiling water bath.
Once made you will need to consider the pastry… this classic rich shortcrust (pate sucree) is one of the most forgiving and easy to do, the difficulty comes with the rolling! If you are one of those that are afraid of making pastry, remember – if the pastry (just like children) catch a whiff of your fear, you’ve had it. No fear.
Rich Shortcrust Pastry (Pate Sucree)
This recipe makes enough pastry to line a 24 x 3.5cm tart tin. If you are making a pie (with a bottom and top), double the quantity. This recipe will make 12 small tartlets.
80gm (1/3 cup) unsalted butter, soft
¼ cup golden castor sugar
1 egg yolk
½ teaspoon natural vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups white/unbleached spelt (cup measure should weigh 130gm at most)
1 – 1 ½ tablespoons water (remember, this tablespoon is 20ml)
Beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and beat until well combined. Add the flour and water, and beat gently until it begins to come together. It should be firm, but not hard, soft but not moist. Press the dough into a ball, and flatten. Cover well and rest in the fridge for approx 30 minutes. The dough is now ready to use.
When ready to make, pre heat the oven to 190c or 170c if fan forced. Butter the tart tray, and as you can see from the picture above, I cut a couple of thin strips of baking paper and cross them – this makes it so much easier for getting them out when cooked. You can see them in the photo above.
This pastry is best rolled between baking paper, using just a little flour. If your pastry cracks, it’s generally because it is too cold, so just place your hand on it for a minute and it should soften a little. In between each roll, peel off the paper (to break it’s seal) and sprinkle with a little more flour. Roll to 3mm thick. If your pastry becomes too warm, it will become impossible (just like a too tired child), so if you find it becoming too soft, pop it in the fridge or freezer for a minute to firm up. Don’t attempt to cut out pastry rounds to line your tart tin unless it is nice and cold, and not too soft.
Line the tart tins with the pastry, spoon a heaped tablespoon of fruit mince and top with pastry round. Place in the hot oven for 15 mins, then reduce oven to 180c or 165 if fan forced. Cook until lovely and golden – you can see mine are quite yellow, this is from the lovely spring/summer grass the cows and chickens have been eating to make the butter and egg.
When they come out of the oven, let them sit for a couple of minutes to get themselves together, then gently lift them (using the baking paper strips) from the tray. If the fruit mince has oozed out and stuck, you may need to use the tip of a small, sharp knife to cut the seal.
Leave to cool before eating and then store in an air tight container. Save some for Santa.
You must be wondering where I’ve gone – my blog is up, and no posts. Well – you know that desk I showed you? It’s not been looking so clear these past weeks since I posted that first blog, and the work was covering it. Now that’s all gone, new flowers are set, the space is clear – in more ways than one. So, with a clear desk and work put behind me for a bit, my thoughts have turned to stocking up the kitchen. My daughter is returning home after traveling, my niece is arriving, my cousin and her children arriving (all next week) and one of the best things to have on hand is puff pastry. A good puff can take you anywhere and do anything. Now, I know. I hear you before you even say it – truly Jude, when do I have time to make puff? But truly, this recipe is so easy – the pastry spends most of it’s time in the fridge, resting. It demands very little from you. AND – once made, wow, do you save time. It will give you a variety of meals for very little work. So, here we go…
2 cups white/unbleached spelt flour
3/4 cup iced water
250gm unsalted butter – well chilled
1/2 cup white unbleached spelt flour, extra
Before we start: The most important thing about making this pastry, is to take care that the butter does not melt into the flour dough – it needs to be firm at all times. You are layering dough, butter and air, many times over. If, when rolling, the butter starts to soften and smear through, immediately put your pastry on a tray lined with baking paper, cover this with baking paper and put in the fridge until chilled (but not solid) again. It’s a great pastry to use in summer, but an easier one to make in winter. What do I do when it’s warmer? Make it early in the morning, chill my rolling pin and flour for rolling, and chill the pastry well between rolls.
1: Place the flour in a bowl. Using a butter knife, gradually ‘cut’ the water into the flour. The dough should hold together, but not be at all wet – you will be surprised how the spelt ‘gives’ as it sits for a couple of minutes. (You might need to use 1 – 2 tablespoons more water, as different batches of spelt flour absorb different amounts of water. Form the dough into a ball – do not knead or play with it, and wrap in a tea towel, then flatten a little and chill in the fridge.
2: Place the butter between two sheets of baking paper and beat (gently) with a rolling pin until it forms a rough 20cm square – about 1cm thick. You may need to lift the paper from both sides from time to time, to release and allow the butter to spread. it doesn’t matter if the butter ends up more of a rectangle.
3: Return the butter, between the paper sheets to the fridge to chill for a bit. Put the extra in a bowl near where you will be rolling, to use for dusting. Place the dough on a floured work surface. Sprinkle a little four over the pastry and rolling pin. Roll the dough into a square, about 26cm – again, it doesn’t matter if it’s slightly rectangular. To prevent sticking, keep the pastry and rolling surface lightly dusted with flour, even turning the pastry from time to time. Starting from the centre of your square, roll out each corner to make an ‘ear’, creating a king of ‘cross’ shape.
4: Remove one piece of baking paper from the butter and invert it onto the centre of the pastry. Remove the remaining paper, and fold over the pastry ears, so they completely cover the butter – you should need to stretch the pastry. They will overlap and that is fine. You should end up with a completely sealed parcel of butter. Pat the edges a little to make a nice, neat rectangle – the pastry should be right up against the butter. If the pastry and butter at this stage still feel cold and chilled, you can start to roll. if not, cover and place in the fridge to chill.
5: You are now commencing to make turns. (You’ll be rolling the dough lengthways, so make sure you have plenty of space.) Making sure your rolling surface and pin are dusted with flour, begin to roll out the dough lengthways. When the butter is very chilled, this might take a couple of times where you simply press along the pastry to gently flatten it evenly. As the pastry begins to ‘give’, continue to roll out until you have a rectangle about 67cm long and 24 – 26 cm wide. You are only ever rolling lengthways.
As you roll, you need to continually move the pastry and dust with the flour underneath and on top of the pastry. As you are moving the pastry, take care not to hold it for too long, as your body warmth will soften the butter. Work swiftly to prevent the butter softening. Try to avoid ending up with pointy, uneven bit at the two outside edges on the ends of the pastry, using the rolling pin to push (not press or roll) them back into a more even line. Otherwise you can incorporate the pointy ends into the fold (next step). You are now ready to commence the first turn.
FOLD THE PASTRY INTO THREE – the pastry up from the bottom, and down from the top. Repeat the rolling to make a rectangle about 67cm long, following the guidelines above. Fold the pastry as described, rotate so the closed fold is to your left, and mark it with two dents. This lets you know you have completed two turns.
6: Place the pastry on a tray lined with baking paper, top with the baking paper (to avoid drying out) and cover well, so it doesn’t dry out. Place in the fridge to rest and chill for 2 hours. Repeat the above rolling and folding twice – you have now completed four turns. Mark the pastry with four little dents. Place on a tray lined with baking paper, top with baking paper and cover, sealing well. Chill in the fridge for another 2 hours.
Repeat the rolling and folding twice more – you have now completed six turns and the pastry is ready. Place on a tray lined with baking paper, top with baking paper and cover, sealing well so it doesn’t dry out. Place in the fridge to rest and chill.
You can now freeze the pastry, but I prefer to cut it into quarters and roll the pastry into four sheets ready for use, each about 24cm square. To roll keep the table, rolling pin and the top of the pastry lightly dusted with flour. Try to keep the shape fairly even as you roll, but don’t worry too much as you can trim it to shape later. The pastry should end up about 2 – 3mm thick. As each sheet is rolled, place it on a tray ( I use a cake cardboard) covered with a sheet of baking paper, with a piece of baking paper between each pastry sheet. Top with a sheet of baking paper, cover and seal well with plastic wrap and freeze, or use immediately.
- Afternoon Tea
- Chef Training
- Core Recipes
- Dairy Free
- Gluten Free
- Grass Fed Meat
- Late Summer
- Making a Book
- Meals from my Garden
- Quick Dinner
- Ramble and Roam
- Seasonal Cooking
- Soaked Grains
- Sustainable Fish
- Wedding Cake
- Whole and Natural Foods Chef Training
- Wholefood Kitchen