Flowery Tarts

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This bake a recipe was originally featured on Alan Clifford’s show on BBC Radio Nottingham on 17th June 2016.

On the 25th June 2016 I will be appearing at Newstead Abbey Flower Festival where I shall be appearing on stage alongside Teresa Bovey.  Over the past few years I have had the pleasure of attending many such events and have gotten to meet many fantastic chefs along the way.

These have always been strictly food events though so, now presented with an upcoming flower festival, I
figured I best start thinking a bit more floral with my food!

I was aware that you can bake with flowers and have eaten at restaurants that have used them as garnish but they have never really added anything to the dish.  This is thus my attempt at adding use and flavour through flowers.  Not just pretty looks!

I have made many variations on this classic tart in the past, several of which you can already find on this site.  This version though starts by layering a beautiful Turkish Delight curd (purchased from another recent food festival) beneath a rosewater flavoured crème patisserie.  Then  covered with raspberries before being topped with meringues.

Not just any meringues though.  These little beauties have been delicately coloured a light blue by making a natural paste from Cornflowers.  Taste free, it provide a wonderful alternative to the normal E number filled colours used in baking.

Who knew flowers could be so useful in baking?!

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Pastry

200g Plain flour

20g Ground almonds

40g Icing sugar

125g Very cold unsalted butter – cubed

1 Free range egg

Crème Patisserie

350ml Full fat milk

4 Large free-range egg yolks

60g Caster sugar

40g Corn flour

1 Vanilla pod

1tsp Rose water

Meringue

50g dried cornflowers – I purchased mine from www.Steenburgs.co.uk

3 Large egg whites

240g Caster Sugar

To Decorate

4tbsp Turkish delight curd

500g Raspberries

Raspberry jam

2tbsp water

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Method:

Place all dry ingredients for the flour into a large bowl. Work the butter into the mixture until it resembles rough breadcrumbs.

Add the beaten egg yolks and water to the dry ingredients and, working quickly, bring the mixture together into a dough ball. Wrap in clingfilm and store in the fridge for at least 30 mins.

When the pastry is cooled, take half out of the fridge and use it to line your pastry tart tin. Place the lined tin back into the fridge for another half hour.

Pre-heat the oven to 180c.

Remove the tin from the fridge and prick the base with a fork several times. Line with heat-proof cling film and fill with baking beans.  Bake for 10mins before removing beans and continuing to bake for a further 10mins.  Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Make the Crème Pat. Add the milk and vanilla pod to a saucepan and place on a medium heat.

In a separate bowl, add the egg yolks, cornflour and sugar. Whisk well to combine.

Once the milk begins to boil, pour it straight onto the egg yolk\sugar mixture whilst whisking. This will bring the eggs up to the same temperature as the milk without cooking them too quickly.

Place the mixture back onto a medium heat, constantly whisking, for around 4mins until the custard thickens up.  Remove from the heat and stir through the rosewater.

Place the finished Crème Pat into a large bowl and cover directly with clingfilm. This will stop it from forming a skin.  Leave to cool.

For the meringue, first make the natural colouring by taking the dried cornflowers and grinding to a fine powder in a pestle and mortar.  Add a tablespoon of water to the powder to turn this into a paste.  Use a tea strainer to press the juice, collecting it into a pot.  This will be your colour.  You will not get a lot of juice but it will be quite a potent blue colour.

Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks before adding the sugar spoonful by spoonful and whisking thoroughly to combine.  Once you have a think and glossy meringue, fold through the strained cornflower liquid.  The mixture will turn a very light blue.

Place the meringue into a large piping bag fitted with a ¼” nozzle and pipe stars onto a lined baking sheet.  Place into an oven at 50c for 3 hours.  You don’t want to cook these, only dry them out completely.  Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely.

To assemble, first cover the base of the pastry case with the curd before either piping or gently spoon the Crème Patisserie into the tart tins to 1\2” below the top.  Gently arrange your fruit onto of this.

Take a spoonful of Raspberry syrup and place into a saucepan with 2tbsp water. Heat until boiling.  Use a large pastry brush to apply this to the top of the fruit on your tart to give it a mirror like finish.

Top with the cooled meringues, dried cornflowers and dried rose petals.

Stand back and admire your work!

 

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