I am the knight in summer’s armour.

Wet. Dreary. Cold. Not quite everybody’s most beloved forecast but then again you could do what I did… the humbly incredible, the previously-uninventable, the just-about-salvageable! You see, instead of my very realistic plan of flying to the sky and seducing the clouds into playing nice, I decided to retreat to my kitchen, where I created my very own sweet slice of sunshine. Warm. Fuzzy. Bright. I set the temperature and made it shine!

Summer seems to be a rather beautiful but hazy memory, for me however, I have a sweet love for winter but even I understand the need for a pick me up, a sort of edible high, a summer stimulator if you must- so I opened my mouth to the neglected fruits of the Sun. They seemed to be my lifeline for the intensely craved summer levity.

Now of course, like on a summer’s eve you do not want to labour away, so the hard work here simply comes from the opening and closing of the mouth and then repeating the motion until the food placed inside is of adequate consistency ready for the swallow. The pastry is amazingly versatile, and I made so much because pastry can be quite unnerving at times, and in every attempt made it isn’t ever the same. But after many a trial and error it was so pliable and soft to work with, in fact, I’d say it was my most easiest and joyful pastry yet. The better part is that when layering the tart with the delectable compote and creamy Chantilly the pastry remains steady and strong, it’s tough so it can carry the beautiful burden of cream and fruits without a ripple of pastry muscle crumbling. Oh yeah, sexy!

IMG_5448It’s your choice whether you make this in a pretty tart tin with the crimped edges, a muffin pan, a sandwich tin or even a very square tin. The decision is yours, I opted for the mini tart tins, a large one, and even a sandwich one – what can I say? Summer has been sorely missed – or the tastes of, and I hadn’t the frosty heart to throw away perfectly tasty pastry dough. So on account of the layers of summer in this lovely thing, it holds the sandy vanilla pastry, a fruity jam followed by a substantial layer of sunny Chantilly cream and a summer fruit of your choice (I used blueberries and strawberries).

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Recipe + Method

For the Pastry

2 egg yolks

250g plain flour

1 ½ tbsp cold water

3tbsp caster sugar

2tsp vanilla extract

180g unsalted butter, cold and chopped

For the compote

300g blueberries/strawberries (or try both)

75g caster sugar

1 ½tsp vanilla extract

For the chantilly cream

200g white chocolate, melted

500ml double cream, whipped

200-300g strawberries or blueberries (or both)

To begin the assembling of summer, start with the pastry. Mix in the sugar and flour followed by the cubes of butter- combine with your fingers until it resembles fine bread crumbs. Then add the vanilla, egg yolks and water. Once it forms a soft dough turn it out onto a floured work surface and knead until properly combined, then wrap the ball in cling film and refrigerate for about 45minutes. Next, take the dough out and roll out and line your chosen tins, ensuring they are all lightly greased beforehand, and prick with a fork and refrigerate again for about 30 minutes. After, line the tins with baking paper and beans and bake in a preheated oven (fan assisted) on 160C for about 8-10minutes for small tart tins or muffin tins and 12-15minutes for larger tart/sandwich tins. Then remove the paper and beans and bake the pastries further for another 5 minutes for small tart/muffin tins and 7 minutes for larger tins. Then remove from the oven and allow it to cool whilst making the jammy filling.

For the strawberry filling, thinly slice strawberries and chuck in a pan with the sugar, on a medium heat stir until it has thickened and then remove from the heat and add the vanilla. Leave to cool. For blueberry filling, add blueberries in a pan with the sugar and 2tsp water and stir on medium heat until thickened. Then remove from the heat and add vanilla, leaving it to cool after.

To make the cream, melt the chocolate and leave to cool, whip the cream and fold half into the chocolate, when combined, gently fold in the remaining cream- do not over-fold. Then put the tart together, spread with the jammy filling, smother on the Chantilly cream and finish with the sliced fruits on top.

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See? You don’t need summer to see a gorgeous tart, just fruit it up and it’ll warm you like summer on a winter’s eve.

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