Thursday, 12 August 2010

Truly engaging







Like most good fruit
it started its life in the East.

After an an appearance in Italy,this brave " shall we call it a plum"crossed the alps in the 16th century, and surprise surprise
was adopted by the French.
They took this little lad or ladette and gave it right royal status. They named La Reine Claude,after the wife of Francois the first.


Was Claude round and green? I very much doubt it!!! - They had to name something after her. What is it with Queens!!! Plums and railway stations named after them. So, this is how I become plum crazy for a very short lived season in August, here in Portugal. Stoned at the post, but the name stayed, and Portugal gives us the Rainha Claudia. I will refer you to the late and inimitable Jane Grigson´s fruit book for the full story of how the ´gage` came to be in England. It involves aristocracy again, and a certain Sir William.
For me there are few more beautiful things than a bowl of greengages in August. Their pale emerald/ blue/ yellow hues with a milky patina, and they cook as well as they eat. Here at Casa Rosada. Greengage and Almond tart will be on offer for a lucky holiday maker from the UK who is hungry and under the threat of a new fascist diet. Forget healthy and trim,after a great slice of this tart my intention is to send this holiday maker home with salvation and joy.

Greengage and almond tart

Serves 10

One quantity of sweet pastry, shop or home made

( approx. 500g )

FOR THE FRANGIPANE
250g whole blanched almonds

250g unsalted butter

250g caster sugar

4 whole eggs

as many greengages as it takes
to fill the tart shell in one layer.


Prepare the frangipane the day before. Grind the almonds until fine.
Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat until creamy.
Crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk thoroughly.
Slowly add the eggs to the butter and sugar.
add the ground almonds and mix in well.
Refrigerate overnight. Frangipane cooks better when cold.
Line a 12in loose bottomed pie dish with the pastry and put in the fridge for 1 hour.
Pre-heat oven 180c /350f 7 gas mark 4.
Blind bake 15 minutes and allow to cool.
Fill the tart shell with frangipane.
Halve and de-stone the fruit then lay them over the frangipane in one layer cut side up.
Dust with icing sugar and put in the oven for 45 minutes.
Let tart sit for at least half an hour before removing and serving.
Serve with lashings of creme fraiche!!




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