Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Tarte Royale

Crostata di Prugne Verde e Ribes con i Pepe Rosse
Green Plum and Blackcurrant Tart with Red Pepper

I love to use produce when it is in season- especially such wonderful fruit as these little "Reine Claude" or "Queen Claude" plums! OMG what a revelation! I had never tried them before and thought when I saw them, "oh well, they are a weird green color- try them and see..." And that is exactly what I did and I guess that I then finally saw the light!

A dull, apple green on the outside, these little plums look interesting enough- but the beautiful bright green on the inside truly is a revelation! And the wonderful thing is that the bright green turns to a rich gold after baking! No wonder these little beauties were named after the queen! I tried them tonight and am now hooked- they are my new Summer favorites!

The only thing making the preparation of this little tart special, is the fact that I used cracked red pepper corns to flavor it. After eating the grilled pork in the previous post, i couldn't help but notice how the flavor os the red pepper was very fruity and berry-like... mostly due to the fact that red pepper is not actually pepper at all, but IS a dried berry!

So I prepared a mix of pepper corns, sugar and cinnamon, which I ground together using my mortar and pestle and which I used later to flavor the fruits... but first things first! We have a pie-base to make!

I simply cut a square of puff pastry to around 6" x 6" and then cut 12 strips of around 1/2" which I placed around the outside edges to form a kind of framework. I trimmed off any excess length and then arranged the fruits decoratively in the center, arranging the plums first and then filling in the spaces with the berries. I baked the pie for 10 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 300°F and then brought it out and sprinkled it, hot and steaming, with the flavored sugar- and popped it back in for a further 5-10 minutes until it was golden brown and fluffy and divine!

I could hardly wait for it to cool, but in the meantime I flavored a little yogurt with lime juice and honey to serve with it... and it made for a truly wonderful and delicious Summer dessert! The pepper made the tart fruity flavors come to life, the cinnamon and sugar rounded everything off nicely and the cold and creamy yogurt was the perfect accompaniment!

And all I can say is- Long Live the Queen!

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