January 26th, 2021
Summer fruit is truly one of life’s great pleasures. I don’t think I have met anyone who doesn’t go a little weak at the knees for fresh berries and stone fruit. It is difficult not to completely gorge oneself on them through the season. Something my children happily do when the fruit on our trees are ripe.
I don’t often cook berries as they are just so wonderful eaten fresh. However, I am a sucker for “seconds” from the markets and often come home with boxes of strawberries or peaches in the height of the season. Some are used to make jam, others are cut up and frozen for free-flow fruit for smoothies. And if there are still a few left then a simple shortcake tart fills the house with the intoxicating smell of baked summer fruit.
Strawberry & Peach Shortcake Tart
This summer shortcake is easy to put together for afternoon tea or dessert. It is important to use “fleshy” rather than juicy peaches or nectarines or they can make the base soggy. A small amount of almond flour, polenta or semolina is sprinkled underneath the fruit layer to act as a buffer to absorb excess juice from the cooking fruit.
- 150 g room temperature butter
- 1/3 cup (70g) sugar or ¼ cup of mild honey
- 1 egg
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1½ cups (200g) white flour - can use spelt or gluten-free flour
- ½ cup (50g) ground almonds or extra flour
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 500 g strawberries
- 2 fleshy peaches or nectarines
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp almond flour, polenta or semolina
Preheat oven to 180C (160C fan bake). Grease a 25cm wide tart dish.
Make the pastry. Place the butter and sugar into a food processor and blend until creamy. Add the egg and lemon zest and blend for another 15-20 seconds until smooth. Add the flour, ground almonds, baking powder and salt and pulse six times. Scrape down the sides and pulse a few more times until the dough comes together. Don’t over mix. If the dough feels very soft at this stage, chill in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to firm up so it is easier to press into the tart dish.
Prepare the fruit. Remove the green hulls from the strawberries, halve (or quarter if they are large) and place into a bowl. Remove the stone from the peaches or nectarines and cut into 3cm pieces. Add to the strawberries along with the sugar and toss to combine.
Press two-thirds of the dough into the prepared tart dish. Sprinkle the polenta or semolina evenly over the dough then tumble over the fruit. Use a teaspoon to dot the remaining dough over the fruit, leaving some gaps for the juices to ooze through.
Bake for 35-40 minutes until the shortcake top is golden and the fruit is lightly bubbling. Cool the dish on a rack. Serve warm or cold with runny cream. The tart will keep in the fridge for 3 days and can be reheated to serve.
*Recipe first published 9th January 2021 on Stuff.co.nz.