Monday, April 30, 2012

Semolina and Raspberry Tart

Semolina pudding makes you think of your childhood... it is comfort food. Put it in a pastry shell and you end up with the most lovely tart. The semolina filling is wonderfully smooth and creamy and has this warming smell of vanilla. The sweetness of the raspberries builds a perfect contrast to this. The tart has been bookmarked in my Ottolenghi cookbook for way too long - good thing Alex, who probably knows this book by heart, reminded me of it this weekend. Ottolenghi calls this tart "the pinnacle of comfort". So true. Instant smiles on the faces of those who eat it. And don't be put off by the long recipe instructions, it's worth it.

(from: Ottolenghi - The Cookbook)

For the sweet pastry: (you can use store-bought pastry if you don't want to make it yourself)
330g plain flour
100g icing sugar
grated zest of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt
180g cold butter, cut into small cubes
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons cold water

Put the flour, icing sugar, lemon zest and salt in a bowl and add the butter. Rub it in with your hands (or do it with a mixer or food processor). Mix until you get a coarse breadcrumb consistency, make sure that there are no large lumps of butter left.

Add the egg yolk and water and mix just until the dough comes together. Don't mix longer than necessary. Maybe you need a tiny amount of extra water.

Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and knead lightly for a few seconds only. Shape it into a smooth disc (5-6cm thick). Wrap in cling film and chill until ready to use. The pastry keeps in the fridge for about a week and at least a month in the freezer.

You won't need the whole amount of this sough for the tart. I just froze the rest and will use it for another tart.

For the tart:

vegetable oil for brushing the tin
plain flour for dusting
250g sweet pastry (or store-bought pastry)
80g unsalted butter
180ml whipping cream
345ml milk
60g caster sugar
1/2 vanilla pod
60g semolina
1 egg
200g raspberries
50g apricot jam (optional)
icing sugar, for dusting

Lightly brush a 18cm loose-bottomed cake tin with a tiny amount of oil and set aside. You could probably also use a 20cm cake tin.

Make sure you have a clean work surface. Dust it with a bit of flour and, using a rolling pin, roll out your dough. You should have a disk that is about 2-3mm thick. Once you have reached the right thickness, cut the pastry into a circle large enough to cover the tin and most of the sides comfortably. Carefully line the tin and patch up any holes with excess pastry if necessary. Once you lined your tin, trim the pastry with a sharp knife, so you have a nice edge, about 3cm high. Place in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Cut out a circle of baking parchment large enough to cover the base and the sides of your cake tin. Place inside the case and fill up with dry beans or rice so that the sides of the pastry are totally supported by the beans and wont collapse during baking. Bake the case blind for 25-35 minutes or until it is very light brown. Remove from the oven and take out the beans of rice (you can keep it for future tarts).

To make the filling, put the butter, cream, milk and sugar in a saucepan. Slit the vanilla pod open lengthwise with a sharp knife and scrape out all the seeds. Drom them and the scraped pod into the saucepan. Place the saucepan onto the stove and bring to the boil. Let it simmer while you slowly whisk in the semolina. Continue whisking until the mix comes back to the boil and thickens up like porridge. Remove from the heat and whisk in the egg. Remove the vanilla pod.

Pour the semolina mixture into the pasty case. Push half the raspberries inside, allowing them to show on the surface. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the filling is slightly golden. Remove from the oven and cool slightly before removing the tart from the tin.

Put the apricot jam in a small pan with a tablespoon of water and bring to the boil. Strain it through a sieve and brush over the tart. Finish with the remaining raspberries and dust with icing sugar.

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