Sometimes I cook things because they are perfect vehicles for other foods I want to eat. Witness this “rustic” (read, freeform) raspberry tart. On Sunday I was at the Marylebone Farmer’s Market. It is impossible for me to go to the Marylebone Farmer’s Market without buying Guernsey cream. (Admittedly, I haven’t tried very hard not to buy it. But why should I deny myself?) Having bought the cream, well, clearly a tart had to be made. The pastry is a simple shortcrust, and the berries are only lightly sweetened and barely cooked so you get that sweet-tart berry burst along with the cream. Ground almonds reinforce the crust and add a little bit of crunch. The sad thing is that my camera ran out of batteries when I served dinner, so there is no money shot of tart with glorious yellow Guernsey cream. You’ll just have to use your imagination.
For the crust:
2 cups all-purpose flour
100 grams (about ¼ lb) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar, plus additional sugar for sprinkling
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
¼ cup milk, plus an additional tablespoon for brushing before baking
For the filling
400 grams fresh raspberries (about a pound)
2 tablespoons lightly toasted ground almonds
1/3 cup (you can increase this amount if you want a sweeter tart) + 1 tablespoon sugar
Combine flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest in a bowl. Cut butter in chunks and combine with dry ingredients using two forks until it forms fine crumbs. (You can make the dough with a food processor, but for this kind of crust I actually prefer to use my hands.) Add milk and incorporate as quickly as you can with your fingers, trying not to overwork dough. The dough should be quite soft. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 220 degrees Celsius (425 degrees Fahrenheit). (The hot temperature quickly bakes and crisps the crust without turning the raspberries to liquid.)
Gently combine the raspberries and 1/3 cup of the sugar, trying to damage the berries as little as possible. In another bowl, combine the ground almonds and tablespoon of sugar.
Working quickly so as not to break down the fat in the dough, flour and roll the dough to a round of about 3 mm thickness (1/8 inch) and 16-18 inches diameter (about half a meter). I find it easiest to roll the dough between two pieces of parchment paper. Turn the dough directly onto a baking tray, and trim any rough pieces. Sprinkle the almond sugar in the center of the round in roughly an eight inch circle. (This will be the base of your tart.) Next, pour the raspberries in the center of your round, leaving at least three inches of dough on each side. Again, working quickly and without over-handling the dough, fold the edges around the berries and roughly crimp the top. Brush with milk and dust with sugar.
Bake in the center of your oven for 35-40 minutes, or until the crust is dark golden. Serve warm with thick cream, crème fraiche or ice cream.
Makes 4-6 servings.