Greengage, Blackberry and Almond Tart

After the filo disaster in my last post for chorizo and manchego filo parcels, I decided to revisit pastry on more familiar terms. After having successfully made a nectarine, plum and almond tart at work, I decided to replicate it for my blog using more seasonal ingredients. I have tried to make tarts like this several times in the past and although they have worked out fairly well, I have a tendency to slightly catch them in the oven. This meant I was quite irrationally excited when this one turned out pretty well. Hence my decision to relive this excitement through my blog (and become even more smug by posting a picture of the nectarine tart); some might say I need a life but I, to an extent, beg to differ.

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Greengages are a fruit I have only tried recently and it is safe to say I am now fairly obsessed with them. They are essentially green plums that originated in France, but their flavour is sweeter and richer, making them perfect for desserts. I thought they would be lovely with blackberries and that the two as a pair would be perfect for this time of year and the transition between summer and autumn. I also thought the blackberries would bring out some colour in the tart and help it’s presentation and appearance.

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As I mentioned in my post about lemon and pistachio bakewell tarts, my Mum isn’t a massive fan of almond. Since almonds compliment fruity flavours, I decided she would have to learn to like it as, although the pistachios were lovely with the lemon, it still isn’t quite the same as a more traditional frangipane filling. Being modest yet again, I think this tart helped prove that. It was really lovely as the slight tanginess of the fruit cut through the sweetness of the almond, preventing it from being too overwhelming. Even my mum agreed; I’m not sure I’ve completely converted her, but I’ll take her actually liking it as a success in itself. But, to top it all off, the ultimate compliment came from my grandma. Known for being a critical woman, she actually ate some of the piece my Mum took her without freezing it as a less-than-subtle way of putting it off. After some sceptical comments over whether I had made the pastry myself and how expensive greengages were (‘Sarah does know apples go well with blackberries?’), she actually admitted she really liked it. She thought it was a bit sweet, but beggars can’t be choosers. Anyway, I hope you enjoy!

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Greengage, Blackberry and Almond Tart (approx. 9 servings)

For the pastry

  • 12oz plain flour
  • 6oz margarine
  • 3 caster sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • cold water

For the filling

  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 125g ground almonds
  • 1 egg
  • 1tsp almond essence
  • flaked almonds
  • Punnet of greengages
  • Punnet of blackberries

Method

  1. For the pastry, place the margarine, sugar and flour in a food processor or electric stand mixer and mix until it forms a breadcrumb like texture. Then add the egg and keep mixing until it is all combined. Add some water in little bits until the pastry forms a smooth and soft dough and the water is all completely incorporated. Don’t worry about adding too much water with sweet pastry: you can easily add more flour and it is easier to patch up than savoury shortcrust.
  2. Turn your pastry out onto your work surface and knead until it comes together. Then flatten, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for at least half an hour.
  3. Once the pastry has chilled, lightly flour your work surface and rolling pin before turning the dough out. Then roll to the desired thickness and transfer to your baking tin. Cut off the excess and place back in the fridge for at least another half an hour.
  4. Preheat your oven to 200C/ 180C Fan/ 400F.
  5. Blind bake your pastry case for 10 minutes to stop if from rising. Remove the beads and bake the case for another 5 minutes until the case is golden.
  6. In the meantime, make the filling for the case. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the caster sugar. Then add the ground almonds, the egg and the almond essence and spread across the base. Remove the stones from the greengage and arrange the halves (or the quarters if you prefer) on top of the almond mix with the blackberries. Sprinkle over the flaked almonds and bake for a further 30 minutes until the whole tart looks golden. It is best served warm with some ice cream or cream.
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