Tarty Seville Orange Tart

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My Brother’s birthday is at the end of January and mine is at the beginning. As a rule two things happen in between: if we are going to have snow, that’s when it will arrive and it duly has and my parents (yes that’s right both of them) make their annual supply of marmalade.

Currently I am not involved in this operation although at some point fairly soon I am going to have to acquire the Knowledge in that traditional hand me down sense. My better half has managed to end up on the distribution list and so will be looking to me to pick up the mantle eventually as he gets through his stock, more or less single-handed, long before the annual boiling comes round again. I have to say I haven’t even attempted to make the stuff at all, despite being a dab hand at jam, but the presence of Seville oranges in farm shops and occasionally in supermarkets does leave me feeling a little left out.

I need a distraction; Nigella makes the most delicious Seville Orange ice-cream, see :Nigella.com/No Churn bitter Orange Ice-cream, for some reason I cannot link this today, I think it’s absolutely wonderful being a bit of a tarty fan.

I have come up with a tart however as lemon tart is a favourite of mine and this I suspect would be a first cousin after all…

The recipe is basically Mary Berry’s but as the generic tart seem to be essentially the same list of ingredients whose-ever you make and as I have altered the prime ingredient I shall claim this as my own to some degree.

You will need:

For the sweet short crust pastry: 110g cold Butter, diced, 200g Plain Flour, 2 tbsp Icing Sugar, 1 Egg Yolk, cold Water

Just whizz the flour and the butter in a food processor until you have fine breadcrumb consistency, stir in the icing sugar and add the egg yolk and drizzle in enough cold water to form a ball of dough by whizzing again. You can always rub in by hand and then mix in the egg yolk and water by hand with a knife instead. Once you have a ball of dough, lightly roll out and line a greased 8 or 9″ loose bottomed tart tin and trim. Pop the pastry case in the fridge for 20 minutes followed by 10 minutes in the freezer, meanwhile….

For the filling you will need: 2 large Eggs, 90g Caster Sugar, 150g Ground Almonds, 85ml of whipping or double Cream, 2 Seville Oranges, zest and juice.

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and beat together well.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C, once the pastry is chilled, remove from the freezer, add greaseproof paper and baking beans and bake blind for 10 minutes followed by 5 minutes without the paper and beans. Pour in the filling and bake again for 30-35 minutes. If you only have an 8″ tart tin there will be left overs, individual tarts (like jam tarts) can be made with a muffin tin.

Optionally you can make a glazed topping, you will need: 1 Seville Orange, 150g Caster Sugar, 135ml water.

In a frying pan, add the water and the sugar and gently heat to dissolve the sugar and then allow to boil for 10 minutes or so. Meanwhile slice the oranges thinly, discarding the pips, and then add them to the syrup and boil gently for another 5 minutes. If you have time transfer the whole lot to a bowl and allow the slices to soak for an hour or two.

Once the tart has cooled a little, arrange the orange slices and pour on the syrup, you may need to heat up the syrup to allow it to pour. Otherwise if you don’t fancy the glazed topping just sprinkle with icing sugar. Yummy.

Autumnal Crumble and other Berrilicious Delights

So our gorgeous new puppy, Kenya, has been the catalyst for a serious increase in countryside walks and spin-off benefits include a freezer-full of blackberries. There is also a lot more mud to deal with, particularly as it has been so wet, but  I suppose there has to be some sort of cost to foraging….

I shall start with a plum and blackberry crumble, which was inspired by Nigella Lawson’s new series Nigellissima, to which I have been glued, naturally, but Amaretti biscuits are only just available in some supermarkets, so I have come up with a store cupboard alternative.

Autumnal Crumble (serves 6)

You will need for the fruit base: 2 punnets of Plums, (these are currently on offer in Sainsburys, the firm round variety), a punnet of Blackberries or 150g or so, 3 tbsp Marsala Wine, 2 tbsp of soft brown sugar.

You will need for the crumble: 150g Plain or Self Raising Flour, 75g Butter, fridge cold, 75g Rolled Oats, 75g Brown Sugar, 75g Chopped Hazelnuts or Chopped Almonds, pretoasted or not is fine.

So I expect this hardly needs directions but here we go:

  • Wash the plums, halve, remove the stone and halve again, pop in a saucepan with the Marsala, sugar and 3 tbsp of water.
  • Cook over a gentle heat until the plums are tender and the sugar dissolved, about 5 – 10 minutes. You want to retain some bite to the fruit.
  • Pop these in an ovenproof dish minus the liquid and add the blackberries and mix in.
  • To make the crumble topping, rub the butter into the flour either by hand or using a mixer until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs and then stir in all the other ingredients.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C
  • Just before you wish to cook your crumble sprinkle the topping over the fruit and then bake for around 30 minutes until any juice is bubbling and the topping is browned.
  • The cooking liquor from the plums can be reduced over a moderate heat to create a delicious syrup.

Another favourite round here, Orange Berry Salad (serves 4)

You will need: 4 or 5 Oranges, thin-skinned for preference, 4 tbsp of Maple Syrup, 2 tbsp of Orange juice, a large handful or more of Blackberries and a sprinkling of Toasted Flaked Almonds, (you can buy toasted flaked almonds or toast your own, but they toast quickly so don’t leave them to their own devices for a second).

  • Peel the oranges with a sharp knife so that you remove the pith too, and slice to give wheel-like slices.
  • Arrange on a shallow serving dish of appropriate size.
  • In a small saucepan heat together the syrup and orange juice, and pour over the oranges.
  • Scatter over some blackberries and chill.
  • Just before serving sprinkle with toasted flaked almonds

Goes well with cake or tarts like frangipan, something slightly dry on its own.

If you do not have maple syrup, you can make a sugar syrup with 50g of sugar and 50ml of water, heat gently in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves and allow to boil gently for 2 minutes. To flavour, add a little honey or brandy! Cool a little and pour over the oranges.

Lady Grey’s Iced Tea

Iced Tea seems very English but is in fact fairly hard to come by here in the UK. I believe this is something of a tragedy, as if you want a lovely long non-alcoholic refreshing drink which isn’t too sweet, the choices seem to be limited. Possibly because we rarely have suitably hot weather, we don’t seem to cultivate such drinks and the ‘tea council’ or some such body like to propagate the notion that hot tea will cool you down on a hot day anyway! Whilst this may be theoretically true, I’ve never found it helpful in this regard.

So here are a couple of suggestions for Iced Tea with a bit of a twist.

Try and get hold of some Lady Grey tea bags. Twinnings supply it and it is readily available in supermarkets. Ideally the day before make a pot with about 3 tea bags and 800ml of boiled water in a teapot for preference or if not a large jug. After 5 minutes or so pour the tea into a large jug if not there already or remove the tea bags from the jug and leave to cool down and then chill in the fridge.

To make a hi-ball sized glass of tea you will need per glass: about 6 ice cubes, a quarter of the tea (200ml or so), 1 -2 tsp sugar, 100ml orange juice or cold water, a slice each of orange, lemon and cucumber cut in half and a sprig of mint. Combine, stir and sit back and sip.

800ml of tea should provide enough for 4 glasses.

Lady Grey has a lovely citrus-y flavour, enhanced by the orange slices if not by the orange juice and a very low tannin content which is desirable with iced tea I feel. The sugar quantities can be adjusted to taste.

From Wine to Wallbangers

I’m not quite sure when I took my eye off the ball, orange in fact, but we seem to have rather a lot of them glowing up at me from the fruit bowl. I’m a little bit scared to go out to the shed where we keep the overflow from the veg/fruit delivery at this time of year as the last time I was out there struggling to get bikes out or tumble drying done I think I saw a few more lurking.

We really like orange flavour in our house; squash, juice, lollies, sweets, chocolate, ice-cream, cake, marmalade, duck (!) you name it we’ll happily eat it. But not so much if peeling and faffing with the pith is required. The kids seriously can’t be bothered with it, my better half similarly has an aversion to this (clearly patience for peeling oranges is a genetic issue) and I consequently do not have the time, inclination or finger nails to perform this task on everyone’s behalf!

I do have a standard, slightly dinner party-ish, ‘Oranges Steeped in Brandy Syrup’ dessert which I usually make at such moments (that would use up about 4), except I don’t have a dinner party planned and quite frankly this would be a pip in the crate, so to speak. Cakes generally would use 2 at a push, Delia’s famous Chicken Basque only needs a half!

This isn’t going well.

Juicing I think is the only option here and as it’s Friday…. oooh I’m warming to my theme…I think the cocktail hour might be upon us (come 6 o’clock anyway). Yes definitely! The situation is so bad juicing and adding to alcohol/or not as the case may be, is the only solution.

Excellent. What shall I make then. I hardly ever have cocktails.

Luckily I have been chatting with the very talented scarpetta dolcetto who’s blog here at wordpress.com jumped out at me from the aptly named Freshly Pressed page. I’m a sucker for anything Italian sounding and so I just had to have a look. She has a fab picture up of a grapefruit/vodka concoction and when I investigated further she reminded me of all the orange juice cocktail options I have. So we are switching our more usual Friday night tipple from wine to Wallbangers, or something similar.

Screwdriver or Wallbanger?

So to ‘fess up for a moment we actually did this last Friday to celebrate the end of Half Term.

 I had 15 oranges dotted about the place which I juiced. This supplied enough liquid for 4 drinks as follows: Pour a shot of vodka over crushed ice in a hi-ball, then fill up to about the 1/3 point with cranberry juice,  and up to the top with the orange juice, squeeze a couple of teaspoons of lime juice into this mixture and stir. I don’t like things too sweet and neither did my companions so we found this to be perfect. I also tried one without the vodka, and that was delicious too. I seem to remember, from a trip to TGI-Fridays or some such place, the non-alcoholic version can be topped up further with sparkling water for a really long drink. All very enlightening. Grazie scarpetta ♥.

P.S. A shout out to office.microsoft.com for this cocktail picture. Free artwork, photos and more to download and use, and just how perfectly identical to my cocktail, slice of lime and all!

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