One of my favourite ways to eat gooseberries is in a crumble, but try as I might, I find it difficult to sit down to a dishful of crumble in the middle of summer. In my opinion, crumbles are the ultimate in comfort food and something to be consumed when the evenings are growing shorter and colder. Luckily gooseberries are easy to freeze and I always make sure to store some away with the sole purpose of them making into crumbles later on in the year.
I love tarts and pies and like to include whatever fresh fruit I have to hand and in this instance I have used gooseberries. The custard here is light and airy with some zingy freshness introduced courtesy of some lemon zest. What’s also great about this tart is that although the custard is sweet it is not overly so, and as a result the tartness of the gooseberries really comes through after they have been baked and released their juices. There is just enough sweetness in the custard to avoid the fruit being too sharp on the palate and the result is a hugely enjoyable summery tasting tart.
I like to serve this tart with a little softly whipped cream to which I have added a tablespoon of elderflower cordial. Gooseberry and elderflower is another one of those flavour combinations that just work so well.
175g plain flour
50g icing sugar
100g butter, cubed
1 egg yolk
300g gooseberries, topped and tailed
3 egg yolks
100g caster sugar
100ml double cream
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
Icing sugar for dusting
1. Sieve the flour and icing sugar into a large bowl. Add the diced butter and using your fingertips, rub into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
2. Make a well in the centre and add the egg yolk and water and mix using a fork until everything comes together. Turn out on to a lightly floured work-surface sand knead briefly to form into a ball. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge to rest for at least half an hour.
To blind bake the pastry:
3. Preheat the oven to 180C/Fan Oven 160C/Gas Mark 4.
4. Roll out the pastry thinly on a lightly floured work-surface. Use to line a 35cm x 10.5 cm tranche tin with removable base.
5. Prick the pastry several times with a fork. Place some non-stick baking parchment on the pastry and then fill with baking beans. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, removing the parchment and baking beans for the final 5 minutes. The pastry should be cooked and a light golden brown colour. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly while you make the filling. Reduce the oven temperature to 160C/Fan Oven 140C/Gas Mark 2.
6. Place the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and whisk together using a hand-held electric whisk until light and fluffy and very creamy looking (this will take about 8-10 minutes). Add in the lemon zest and the cream and mix together to incorporate.
7. Arrange the gooseberries in the blind-baked pastry shell. Pour in the custard and bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes until the custard is just set in the middle and is a lovely caramel colour. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Serve warm, dusted with icing sugar and a dollop of freshly whipped cream (if desired). This tart is best eaten on the day that it is made.