Sunday, 17 August 2014

Tarte esmigalhada,uma aventura amorosa com Reina Claudia


Who said you can´t serve the British crumble (Brown Betty to you Americans) abroad in the summertime.The humble crumble lends itself to the vast range of soft summer fruits to be found here in the Algarve .Peaches, nectarines, pears,plums and how can I let August go by without having an amorous affair with Claudia, my favourite green plum, the Reina Claudia( greengage).The weather is hot but I can see nothing wrong in serving a cool summer crumble on a sultry summer evening in the garden.And obviously my first choice of fruit was soft poached greengages in an almond syrup.100% algarve,Almond liqueur,greengages and a crumbly topping of lightly toasted Algarvian almonds.
 Don´t tell me you have never crept to the fridge in the middle of the night and helped yourself to some delicious cold left over crumble and enjoyed it so much you returned for some more.Well there you go, served chilled or at room temperature, dolled up up with some lavender or thyme creme fraiche, here is a pudding that can take  time to improve its flavour by chilling and waiting, and meanwhile I will keep you waiting for a series of savoury crumbles that I intend to make in the colder months.

Individual Greengage Crumbles
Makes 4 servings
400g firm but ripe greengages
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
100g golden caster sugar
75g unsalted butter
175g plain flour
1 tsp ginger syrup
1 soup spoon Portuguese almond liqueur such as Amarguinha ( Amaretto could be an alternative)
50g light muscavado sugar
50g lightly roasted almonds,coarsely chopped
 Pre-heat the oven to 200Cfan/180C /gas 6
Put the prepared greengages,lemon zest and caster sugar into a pan,cover and cook over amedium heat for 5- 6 minutes or until he fruit is just tender. Tip the fruit into a sieve set over a bowl and leave to drain and cool slightly.
Rub the butter into the flour and then stir in the caster sugar.Place 4 lightly greased 10cm  metal pastry cutters onto a greased baking tray and spoon 2 tablespoons of the mixture into each.Press it down lightly with the back of a spoon to make a base,then divide the cooked fruit between the four pastry cutters.Sprinkle with the almond liqueur. Save the syrup for later.
Stir the rest of the muscavado sugar and the almonds into the remaining crumble mixture.Spoon evenly over the top of the fruit,then bake the crumbles in the oven until golden and the juices from the fruit are bubbling through the topping.Allow to cool to room temperature or chill completely.
When ready to serve carefully lift the crumbles onto serving plates and gently lift off the pastry cutters.Serve with creme fraiche and the reserved fruit syrup.

Variation on a theme,
Individual peach almond and nectarine Crumbles
Almonds, nectarines and peaches are often grafted on the same tree in Portugal, (and this is where the fun starts) the label says one thing but what matures on the tree is something else. I thought I would play the game and pair almonds and nectarines for my second crumble. Beautiful fleshy nectarines and peaches reduced in a syrup of golden caster sugar and amarguinha (portuguese almond licore)
Use the same ingredients as above minus the ginger syrup and repacing the greengages with sliced nectarines and peaches.Follow the same method.

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