I have spent a couple of nights this week rummaging about in the fridge and the cupboards to make sure any of the festive residue that may be lurking in nooks and crannies is used. I abhor food waste. Although I keep a stealthy eye on perishables sometimes fridge contents get beyond ‘use by’ dates. I basically ignore these anyway and let my palate tell me if something is beyond the point of usefulness.
I managed to squeeze a good-sized pot of jam out of some leftover cranberries and made an array of dishes with some kilos of beetroot given to me by my parents (great stuff, versatile, delicious, can’t get enough of it). I poured all the remnants of the various cream cartons into a wonderful cream of celeriac soup. It is amazing how creative you can (try to) be with sprouts.
So, what did I do with the cream from which the remnants were derived? Well, there had to be ice cream, of course, and a passion fruit and orange tart with a lovely crisp crust.
Passion without guilt
I really do try to make all my food predominantly from local, seasonal produce but as stated in Ethos, I maintain food integrity as much as I realistically can, but there comes a point where I cannot castigate myself to the stage where I end up restricting my diet to the detriment of my health, mental, not least. Self flagellation for breaking ones strictly defined rules is a matter for others more committed than me.
Passion fruit and orange tart
This passion fruit tart is a ray of sunshine for the palate, and to behold on the greyest of dark winter days, not least served with homemade vanilla ice cream. The contents of the tart are courtesy of Gordon Ramsay (yes, I know – but he can cook), with a tweak – I processed the passion fruit pulp to maximise the flavour from the seeds. Pastry is a classic Michel Roux pâte sucrée. Ice cream is from the lovely Leibovitz bible ‘The Perfect Scoop’.
Pastry – Pâte sucrée
Pâte sucrée is a classic for fruit tarts. It is a forgiving sweet pastry, less delicate than pâte sablée and thus is perfectly capable of containing the wet tart mixture – with a bit of help (well, belt and braces) from some chocolate. It is easy to roll super-thin and remains very crisp in the tart base. I make the pastry the Roux way, all ingredients on the work surface, but you could easily combine the ingredients to form the pastry in a bowl.
250g plain flour
100g butter, cubed and slightly softened
100g icing sugar, sifted
Pinch of salt
2 eggs at room temperature
Preheat oven to 180C
- Put the flour on a work surface, make a well in the middle and add the butter, icing sugar and salt to the well and mix with your fingertips.
- Gradually draw the flour into the centre and mix with your fingertips until the dough is slightly grainy.
- Form a new well and add the eggs and work them into the mix until it begins to hold together.
- Once amalgamated, knead a few times with the palm of your hand until it is smooth.
- Roll it into a ball and rest in the fridge for a couple of hours.
- Roll out to the desired thickness of 2 – 3 mm on a lightly floured surface.
I used a 24 cm flan tin (with a removable base) to make sure the tart is thin because I think this gives more elegant presentation than a deep slab (it will also cook more evenly).
- Lightly butter the tin to help the pastry adhere to the sides.
- Carefully transfer the pastry on a rolling pin and form the pastry to the shape of the tin. Use a ball of extra pastry to push the lining pastry into the corners of the tin if it is not compliant.
- Do not trim off the excess pastry because the edge of the case will shrink a bit in the oven – trim after the pastry is baked.
- Prick the base gently with a fork, line with greaseproof paper and baking beans. Rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.
- Blind bake for 15 minutes, remove the paper and beans and bake for a further 5 minutes. Trim the overhanging pastry and leave to cool.
Chocolate pastry case lining
The inside of the case was lined with a thin layer of dark chocolate, which acts as the perfect foil to the sharpness of the fruit and gives an extra dimension of flavour. This also provides a nice surprise for your guests. You will need:
40g quality dark chocolate
Place in a bain marie and melt. Let it cool slightly and brush onto the slightly warm case, filling in any holes and pores with the chocolate. Allow to cool and set.
Passion fruit and orange tart filling
6 ripe passion fruit, blitzed in a food processor and then sieved
350ml fresh orange juice
250g caster sugar
200ml double cream
6 medium eggs
Reduce the oven to 150C
- Put the pulped passion fruit and orange juice in a pan, bring to the boil, reduce by half and then sieve, allow to cool. There should be about 250 ml.
- Beat the fruit mixture, sugar, cream and eggs together until smooth, pass through a sieve into a jug.
- Pour the filling into the case until it reaches the top. I would sit the tin in the oven and pull the shelf out to do this – it is tricky to lift the full case and not spill the mixture otherwise.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes at 150C until the top forms a light crust and is set (it can be a bit soft in the centre), allow to cool and chill until ready to serve.
Additional option: Dust with some sieved icing sugar and use a blowtorch to caramelise the top.
Vanilla ice cream – the real icing on the cake
The grand finale is an easy vanilla ice cream, so-called Philadelphia style, made without a traditional egg custard. It is lighter tasting, cheaper and easier to make than the full-blown custard version, but doesn’t taste any less delicious.
500ml double cream
250ml whole milk
150g sugar (granulated is good)
Pinch of salt
1 vanilla pod, slit in half lengthways
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- Pour 250 ml of the cream into a pan with the sugar and salt.
- Scrape the vanilla seeds from the pod and add both pod and contents to the pan.
- Warm over a medium heat to dissolve the sugar. Add the remaining cream and milk and the vanilla extract.
- Chill thoroughly, remove the vanilla pod and churn using your ice cream maker or do so by hand.