Spiced Dried-fruit Tart Cooked in Ale


serves 6
350 g (1 lb) plain shortcrust pastry, made with half wholemeal and half plain flour
85 g (3 oz) dried apple rings
85 g (3 oz) dried apricots
85 g (3 oz) currants
600 ml (1 pint) pale ale
3 cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
85 g (3 oz) light soft brown sugar
15 g (1/2 oz) butter


1. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface into a rough circle or square, about 38cm (15 in) diameter (you will have some pastry left over), put on a plate and put back in the fridge to chill for a further 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, make the filling by placing all the dried fruit in a saucepan with the pale ale, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add all the remaining ingredients except the butter, stirring the sugar in last.
3. Simmer for a further 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and scoop out and discard the cloves. Drain off some of the pale ale to leave a mushy mixture. Set the filling aside to cool.

4. Pre-heat the oven to 190°C (375°F) Gas 5 and place a baking sheet inside to pre-heat. Prick the bottom of the pastry base all over, then top with the mushy fruit mixture.

5. Pull up the sides of the tart and wrap around the filling. Dot the top of the tart with the butter. Carefully place the tart on the pre-heated baking sheet in the oven. Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until the fruit is bubbling and the pastry is golden brown. Remember that the pastry has not been pre-cooked, so you need to ensure that it is properly cooked underneath the filling.

6. Serve with creme fraiche or fresh custard.

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