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Sea buckthorn curd tart

Sea buckthorn is still pretty unknown, although it has increased in popularity in recent years. It is a hardy plant that grows in coastal areas and bears fruit well into the winter. It's absolutely jam packed with anti-oxidants and vitamins, but is incredibly tart on its own. I serve these tarts with an Italian meringue, so that the sweetness of the meringue offsets the tartness of the sea buck.


To make the sea buckthorn juice, heat 500g sea buckthorn berries and 250ml water in a pan until the berries can be mashed with a fork, then pass through a sieve. Alternatively, you can buy the juice online, but the same quantity will set you back about £10.



Recipe (makes about 6):

For the sea buckthorn curd:

- 150ml sea buckthorn juice

- 150g caster sugar

- 3 large eggs

- 75g butter, cubed

- 3/4 sachet vegetarian gelatine powder


For the sweet shortcrust pastry:

- 150g plain flour

- 75g butter, cubed

- 50g caster sugar

- 1 large egg yolk


For the Italian meringue:

- 100g caster sugar

- 25ml water

- 50g egg whites



Instructions:

For the sea buckthorn curd:

- Mix the sea buckthorn juice, caster sugar and eggs in a glass bowl.

- Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk continuously until the mixture thickens and you can coat the back of a spoon with it.

- Add the butter gradually, continuing to whisk until incorporated.

- Add the vegetarian gelatine and mix until it has completely dissolved.

- Leave to cool slightly while you make your tart cases.


For the sweet shortcrust pastry:

- In a bowl, rub the butter into the flour until you have fine crumbs, then mix in the icing sugar.

- Add the egg yolk and mix until the dough forms a ball. Add a tablespoon of cold water if it looks dry.

- Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

- Preheat oven to 190 degrees. Remove from the fridge, roll out and place into tart cases, trimming off any excess.

- Cover the tart cases with baking parchment and fill with baking beans, then bake for around 15-20 minutes until crips and golden, removing the baking beans and parchment after 10.

- Once cooled, pour the sea buckthorn curd into the pastry case and place in the fridge to set.


For the Italian meringue:

- Put the sugar and water into a saucepan with a thermometer and heat until it reaches 121 degrees.

- Meanwhile, slowly begin whisking the egg whites in a bowl with a handheld electric whisk until they are starting to foam.

- When the sugar has reached temperature, begin slowly pouring it into the egg whites. It is better to pour the sugar down the side of the bowl to stop it from splashing.

- Increase the speed of the whisk and continue whisking until the mixture is firm and glossy.

- Add a spoonful to the top of the tart. If you’re feeling extra fancy, use a blowtorch to lightly caramelise the meringue.

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