gooseberry & rhubarb tart with coconut frangipane
My parents’ garden has random spots bearing fruits, berries and herbs. These are mostly unplanned but come summer we reap the rewards by being able to pick fresh produce just a few steps away. While I’m waiting for the figs to ripen so that I can make jam my mother is happy picking unripe and semi ripe gooseberries from the gooseberry bush. A couple of days ago I helped her navigate this thorn laden mini jungle by holding back the branches while she filled a small bowl with these golden-green, jewel-like fruits.
Gooseberries are very much a British favourite and they’re used in a variety of savoury and sweet dishes. My mother usually prefers them when they’re sour as she makes them into spicy fresh chutneys and loves to add them to fish curries for a traditional sour summer dish. To be honest I wasn’t a big fan of them until recently. I think this is due to my renewed interest in homemade jams and preserves in the past couple of years. I was underwhelmed with the almost imperceptible sweetness of the ones we picked and had forgotten about them – that is until I decided to bake!
This recipe is a just as random as my parents’ garden as it includes a few of my favourite things and was made when I was thinking about breaking my fast for Iftar (it’s now the month of Ramadan). However it turned out to be such a lovely tart with the sweet, creamy coconut frangipane and sweet rhubarb jam balancing out the tart gooseberries. The pastry case has slight sweet note so that also helps. We all ate it with a drizzle of double cream and a cup of tea on the side. What’s life without tea and cake after all!
Ingredients (serves 8-10)
175g plain flour
3 tbs icing sugar
50g unsalted butter, chilled
1 ½ tbs vegetable oil
¼ tsp salt
4 tbs cold water
6 tbs rhubarb jam
75g desiccated coconut
5 tbs double cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 small free range eggs
190g gooseberries, halved Method
Start by making the pasty. Add the flour, icing sugar and salt into a bowl. Cut the chilled butter into small cubes and add to the bowl, along with the oil. Now crumble everything together with your fingertips until you have fine crumbs and everything is well combined. Add the cold water and bring together to form a dough. Make sure not to overmix. Just knead a couple of times.
Shape the dough into a ball and place on a floured surface and very gently roll into a round, dusting with a little more flour as you go. Make the round slightly larger than your tart tin then using your rolling pin transfer onto your 23-25cm (9 or 10 inch) loose bottomed tin. Don’t worry if the dough breaks, just patch it together and press up into the sides. Use a sharp knife to cut off the excess from the sides of the tin and place in the refrigerator to chill for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile make the filling by combining the coconut, sugar, oil, cream and vanilla. Next, add the eggs and cream and make sure everything is thoroughly incorporated. Prepare your gooseberries but slicing them in half and set aside. Pre-heat your oven to 190c or 170c fan/gas mark 5.
Take the chilled pastry case out and use a fork to prick the base. Spread the rhubarb jam on top and then fill with the coconut mixture. Place the gooseberry halves – cut side down evenly all over mixture. Bake for 40 minutes then reduce the temperature and bake for another 10 minutes at 170c or 150c fan/gas mark 3 ½. Cool for at least an hour before serving.