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Gooseberry, Elderflower and Almond Tart

Perhaps because of their associations with favourite A. kitchen gardens or their short season, coming at the height of summer, gooseberries are seen as quintessentially English and have been appearing in tart recipes from the early seventeenth century. This particular recipe brings together the favourite historical accompaniment to gooseberries - elderflower - and the staple almonds and cream. This gives a delicious blend of the not-so-sweet, the sweet and the creamy. Out of season you can use canned gooseberries or you could replace fresh gooseberries with fresh plums or blueberries.

ingredients

serves 6-8
175 g (6 oz) rich sweet shortcrust pastry
450 g (1 lb) gooseberries
2 tablespoons elderflower cordial
115 g (4 oz) granulated sugar
115 g (4 oz) ground almonds
115 g (4 oz) caster sugar
finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
2 eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
150 ml (1/4 pint) double cream

method

1. Line a shallow 23 cm (9 in) tart tin with the pastry and pre-bake or bake blind.

2. Pre-heat the oven to 190°C (375°F) Gas 5.

3. Wash and top and tail the gooseberries. Place them in a saucepan with the elderflower cordial, granulated sugar and 150 ml (1/4 pint) water and bring gently to the boil, stirring occasionally.

4. Cover and simmer for 3-4 minutes or until the gooseberries are softly poached but still intact. Using a slotted spoon, lift out the gooseberries into a bowl, and put to one side. Turn up the heat and let the cooking liquid boil and reduce in quantity until it becomes thicker and more syrupy. Spread the gooseberries over the bottom of the pre-baked pastry case and spoon over the syrupy mixture.

5. In a bowl, mix together the almonds, caster sugar and lemon zest.

6. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and egg yolk together, then add the cream and whisk to mix. Fold in the ground almond mixture and spoon this over the gooseberries.

7. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the tart is firm and golden brown.

Serve with creme fraiche and, if you have some, a glass of home-made elderflower champagne.

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