AUTUMN FRUIT TART + Homemade Crème Fraîche / April In the Garden

Autumn Fruit & Crème Fraîche Tart

You will need to plan ahead to prepare the creme fraiche ahead of time. Or use store bought – as it may be thicker start with four tablespoons, adding extra as needed until the pastry holds together. Just be sure not to over mix, less is best when handling pastry.
Servings 6 -8
Prep Time 50 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cups white flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 100 g chilled butter cut into 1cm cubes
  • 4 – 5 tablespoons Crème Fraîche see recipe below
  • 4 – 6 autumn fruit – blackboy peaches pears, apples – stones/core removed and cut into wedges

Crème Fraîche Custard

  • 150 g soured cream
  • 1 free-range egg
  • 3 tablespoons honey or sugar
  • pinch of nutmeg

Instructions

  • Place the flour, salt and sugar into a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the cubed butter and pulse half a dozen times to cut into the flour. Add four tablespoons Crème Fraîche and pulse briefly until the dough begins to clump together. Test by squeezing a small amount, if crumbly add one tablespoon more Crème Fraîche and mix again.
  • Tip the pastry dough on to a sheet of baking paper and quickly bring together into a square – I use the paper to shape rather than my hot hands. Wrap in the paper and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes for the butter to solidify again.
  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Place a pizza stone or heavy baking tray in the middle of the oven to heat.
  • Remove the pastry from the fridge. Lightly dust bench and a rolling pin with flour and roll the pastry out into a 30 x 30cm square, about 3mm thick. Lift on to the baking paper and shape the tart by pleating the four corners and folding the sides to create a border – this will contain the thin layer of custard while baking. Arrange the fruit snugly in a single layer on to the base.
  • In a jug, whisk together the custard ingredients until smooth. Slowly pour the custard around the fruit. Carefully slide tart into the oven – I use a flat cookie tray to transfer the tart on to the preheated stone/tray. Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the tart and bake for a further five minutes until golden.

Homemade Crème Fraîche

Makes 300g

Preparation time: 18-24 hours

This is quite simply the easiest homemade cheese around. Use it in place of sour cream to dollop on soup, etc. It’s also quite fabulous served with crepes and plum jam.

Pour 300ml of cream into a clean jar and stir through one tablespoon natural yoghurt. Cover with cheesecloth and secure with a rubber band. Set aside on the kitchen bench for 18-24 hours until thickened to the consistency of yoghurt with a sweetly sour aroma. Cover the jar and store in the fridge, and consume within five days. Ensure the Crème Fraîche is chilled before using in pastry.

Scroll down for more images and dialogue about the recipes… plus April in the Garden – this is something I used to share in the earlier days of this online journal and have decided to reintroduce. A pause to share the seasonal happenings in the garden – and a great way to keep track myself of my own garden through the seasons. I would love to hear how your garden is growing too, or if you have any questions please comment below.


When I was training as a chef, I recall my Swiss tutor – who specialised in pastry – telling me I had hot hands. At the time it seemed like an odd thing to say but as we ventured more into the intricacies of pastry making, I understood his point.

To prepare a light and flaky pastry you need to keep the fat (butter, lard, etc) cool at all times before baking. This is to prevent the fat prematurely melting into the flour, which will result in a tough crumb.

The role of fat in pastry making is to create a barrier between the dry (flour) and wet (water, egg etc) ingredients.

To avoid my “hot hands” tainting the quality of my pastry, I now prepare it in a food processor, with as little mixing as possible.

If you prefer to prepare by hand, then do as I was advised by my chef tutor and first cool your hands and mixing bowl with cold water.

*Recipe first published 28th March 2018 on Stuff.co.nz.

 

In the Garden: April

Harvesting: lettuce / parsley / coriander / chives / basil (just) / glasshouse tomatoes (black krim, Isle of Capri, watermouth) / King of the Blue beans / beetroot / Tom thumb peas / red cabbage / broccoli / feijoa / lemons / potatoes / kabocha squash and spaghetti squash.

Tending to: cauliflower / leeks / kale (curly, purple kale & cavolo nero) / silver beet / more broccoli / kohlrabi

Garden tasks: plant more winter crops as above / gather autumn leaves for carbon layering into compost through the year, plus spread a thick ground cover around berry patch / planting green crops (lupin, oat, blue pea mix) in potato & pumpkin patch – this patch doesn’t get much winter sun so I rest it over the coming months with a green crop to re-energise the soil – plus sow green crop in a prepared garden bed for garlic planting in June / fortnightly spray around the entire garden of diluted worm farm juice to keep soil healthy and microorganisms thriving / and weeding, always!

Join the Conversation

  1. Hi, I love reading you and we are enjoying your recipes. We need to keep gluten free diet. What would you suggest for the crust here? 😊

    1. Hi Michal, you can make this with gluten-free flour, however, it will be trickier to work with so chill a little longer before rolling and patch any tears with extra pastry. I would also suggest baking in a tray in case the custard escapes! And rolling between 2 pieces of baking paper is a good idea too 🙂 Good luck

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