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Berry on top

With warmer days hopefully on the way, why not take al fresco dining to a whole new level with my tasty tarts. My cod offering is certainly catch of the day, while the French raspberry tart is simply magnifique

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Sweet French raspberry tart

Sweet French raspberry tart

Cod and greens tart

Cod and greens tart

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Sweet French raspberry tart

Today I have a couple of recipes that are ideal for al fresco dining and perfect for sharing. The first tart is a lovely savoury cod tart. I've used asparagus, peas and broad beans, but you can use long stem broccoli, spinach, fennel, peppers, olives or basically any vegetables that need to be used up.

This tart is so easy: you just pop the sheet of puff pastry into the oven and let it rise, then while it's cooking, take the cod (or whatever fish you choose) and cook it for about 8-10 minutes depending on thickness. Be careful not to overcook the fish at this stage as it also goes into the oven once on the pastry with the vegetables.

I like to serve this with a lovely hollandaise sauce (see top tip) and a nice chilled glass of white wine for the adults.

Next we have a very tasty French raspberry tart. This is a pastry shell baked in the oven, before being layered with crème patisierre and topped with delicious fresh raspberries.

Strawberries, blackberries, cherries or blueberries would work really well, too, or a juicy combination of summer berries.

The sweet pastry needs to be left to chill before you use it to line the tart tin. This helps ensure it will not shrink in size when you pop it in the oven to bake.

After baking, I warm a little redcurrant jelly in a pan with a tablespoon or two of water, and once dissolved, brush it over the fruit and leave it to set.

Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and enjoy.

Happy cooking,

Kevin

 

COD AND GREENS TART

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Cod and greens tart

Cod and greens tart

Cod and greens tart

Serves 4

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Ingredients

2 cod portions (approx 180g each), skinless

1 sheet puff pastry

100g green peas

100g broad beans, outer skin removed

3 asparagus spears, halved

1 lemon, juice & zest

50g butter, melted

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tbsp olive oil

Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C.

2. In a bowl with half the melted butter, toss the broad beans, peas, asparagus, lemon zest and juice, then season well.

3. Roll the pastry on a lightly floured surface then transfer to a baking tray. Lightly brush the pastry with some melted butter, then place in the pre-heated oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and add the vegetables.

4. In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a pan, add the cod portions and cook for 8 -10 minutes, without turning, depending on thickness.

5. Remove the cod from the pan and place cooked side up onto the pastry.

6. Return to the oven for 5-8 minutes. Serve with some salad leaves and red pepper chutney.

 

SWEET FRENCH RASPBERRY TART

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

For the sweet pastry:

125g butter

80g icing sugar

1 egg

240g flour

For the crème patissière:

500ml milk

1 vanilla pod

2 eggs

25g corn flour

80g sugar

500g raspberries

2 tbsp of fruit jelly or jam

Method

1. Start by making the sweet pastry. In a bowl, cream together the butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy. Add in one egg and flour and bring the mixture together. Wrap in cling film and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

2. Pre-heat the oven to 160C. Roll the pastry on a lightly floured surface and line a fluted tart tin. Chill for at least 15 minutes. Line the pastry with parchment paper filled with baking beans and blind bake for 10-15 minutes until cooked and slightly coloured. Set aside to cool down.

3. In the meantime, for the crème patissière, boil the milk with the vanilla seeds in a large saucepan. Whisk the two eggs with sugar and add the cornflour. Pour the warm milk into the egg mixture, a little at a time while whisking.

4. Place the saucepan back on a low heat and cook until thickened (5-10 minutes), stirring constantly. Stop cooking at the first boil. Pour the crème patissière into a bowl and cover loosely with cling film to prevent a skin forming. Allow to cool in the fridge.

5. When the pastry is cooled, spread a layer of the cooled crème patissiere and place the raspberries or other summer berries of your choice on top.

6. To complete the tart, in a small saucepan over low heat, mix two tablespoons of fruit jelly (or jam) with one tablespoon of water. Once dissolved, brush the warmed jelly over the fruit and leave aside to set for a short time.

 

TOP TIP: HOLLANDAISE SAUCE

Hollandaise is delicious drizzled over my cod tart, amazing with eggs Benedict and used as a dip for asparagus.

It's a lovely creamy sauce with a hint of tartness due to the combination of butter and lemon.

Ingredients

2 egg yolks

2 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 tbsp lemon juice

225g butter, clarified

Ground white pepper

Method

1. Heat a large saucepan of water and keep it on a very gentle simmer.

2. Clarify the butter and remove any foam. In a spotlessly clean bowl, add the egg yolks with the white wine vinegar and lemon juice. Season to taste.

3. Place the bowl over the simmering water and whisk at all times until the egg yolks become light and creamy in both colour and consistency.

4. Pour in the clarified butter very slowly whilst continuing to whisk. If the sauce becomes too thick, just add a tablespoon of boiling water.

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