The Cookery School at Thyme
Gooseberries aren't the first summer fruit that comes to mind; their gentle compatriots the raspberry and strawberry so often take the limelight. Hairy, tart to sour, they demand a little preparation to bring out their strengths. Rest assured, the effort will be worth it. Perfect at this time of year, and picked fresh from the bush, even better. They are such a versatile fruit, pairing with savoury and sweet in equal measure. This sweet Italian tart with the flavours of almond running beside the gooseberries is delicious as a summer dessert or with afternoon tea. We have fallen in love with the limeflower too with its delicate flavours, but the cream recipe works equally well with fresh meadowsweet or simply a little elderflower cordial.
For the pastry
250 g plain flour, sifted
125 g cold unsalted butter, grated
30 g caster sugar
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
Zest 1 lemon, finely grated
½ tsp vanilla extract
For the tart
125g icing sugar, sifted
75g ground almonds
Grated zest and juice of ½ lemon
1 punnet Gooseberries, topped and tailed
1tbsp flaked almonds
For the syrup
110ml double cream
50ml of syrup
Oven : 180ºC fan/350ºF/gas 4
1. For the pastry, tip the flour, butter, sugar, whole egg, egg yolk, lemon zest and vanilla extract into a food processor. Switch on the machine until the mixture resembles wet sand, and eventually comes together in a ball. You may need to add a splash of water. Remove the dough, wrap it in clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for 30mins.
2. Roll the pastry out to fit a flan tin with a removable base, and press it into the edges and bottom of the tin. Trim the excess pastry from the edges. Prick the base with a fork and place in the fridge for 20mins.
3. Make the syrup in a small pan by slowly dissolving sugar & water over a medium heat, add the limeflowers, immediately remove from the heat and allow to cool completely before straining through muslin.
4. Blind bake the pastry for 15mins. Remove the beans and the paper and return to the oven for another 5mins. Remove and allow to cool.
5. Beat together the eggs with the icing sugar, ground almonds, lemon zest and juice until it forms a smooth batter.
6. Pour the batter onto the pastry case and scatter over the gooseberries.
7. Top with the flaked almonds and bake for 30mins or until golden.
8. Softly whip the cream & syrup and serve with the tart.