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Redcurrants ripen from mid to late summer.  The diplomatickitchen briefly sets aside the menu of recipes for Mixing Dinner and Business to accommodate the redcurrant’s brief seasonal schedule and present this recipe for them while the fruit is in the markets.

There are repetitive kitchen activities which many cooks enjoy for their sameness.  Their minds wander and think of other things as their hands perform, over and again, some familiar action.  Shelling peas, for instance, is a mechanical task equally compatible with solitary rumination and a companionable hour with a fellow sheller …and so is seeding currants–which is the first step toward baking this tart of  pretty fresh fruit which, like the Last Rose of Summer, will not remain when the summer’s gone.

Fresh Redcurrant Tart with Shortbread Crust (for a 12-inch tart)

Note: To print this recipe, or any other diplomatickitchen recipe, go to the bottom of the page, at the end of the post, and click on the icon: Print & PDF. You will have the option of printing in smaller text size and without photos.

Ingredients for the Shortbread Crust:  Measurements are given in metric units and the closest American equivalent measures.

  • 220 grams of unbleached White Flour (1 and 1/2 cups, plus 1/8 cup) and some flour for the pastry board
  • 110 grams of cold Butter, cut into pieces (8 Tablespoons)
  • 50 grams of Powdered Sugar (1/2 cup)
  • 1 Egg Yolk, beaten (The unused egg white may be frozen and used later for making meringues or meringue toppings; 1 egg white equals about 38 grams.)
  • a pinch of Salt
  • Optional: about 1 cup of Heavy Cream, lightly sweetened and whipped… Or, if the cream is very thick, there’s no need to whip it.  Place a spoonful beside each slice of tart.  The cream in the photos is slightly sweetened and unwhipped.

Ingredients for the Tart Filling:  Measurements are given in metric units and the closest American equivalent measures.

  • 500 grams of fresh Redcurrants (1 pound)
  • 150 grams of Ground Almonds (1 and 3/4 cups)
  • 3 Eggs
  • 100 grams of Powdered Sugar (1 cup)
  • 200 milliliters of Heavy Cream (3/4 cup, plus 1/8 cup)
  • 3 Tablespoons of thin-sliced Almonds, toasted in a dry pan over low heat or in a 375 F oven

Equipment:

  • a straight-sided Tart Pan:  The one used for the photographed tart measures 12-inches across the top, 11-inches across the base and is 1-inch deep.
  • a Mixer, standing or hand
  • a Food Processor is optional and useful for mixing together the shortbread crust
  • a Pastry Board and Rolling Pin
  • a Spatula
  • a straight-sided Shot Glass or any small, straight-sided glass to use to roll over the pastry and smooth its surface once it is pressed into the tart pan
  • a piece of Parchment Paper and either Beans, Pie Weights, or a slightly smaller Tart Pan to weigh down the pastry while it blind bakes (i.e., bakes without a filling)
  • a large Mixing Bowl

A Note:  Ingredients, Equipment and Recipe for the Last Touch:  Shortbread Pastry Flowers with Redcurrant Centers are printed below at the end of the tart recipe.

I.  Making the Shortbread Crust

1.  Put the flour, bits of cold butter and powdered sugar in the bowl of the processor and mix them together so that the butter is cut into the flour and sugar.  The mixture will have a ‘meal-ey’ texture.

2.  Turn the processor back on and pour the egg yolk through the tube.  Process until the mixture starts to come together and forms a big ball with small clumps of dough around it.

3.  Turn the dough out and bring it all together into one ball.  The dough will be very smooth and soft.  Wrap it in plastic or waxed paper and chill it for about 30 minutes, or just until it firms a bit.  (If the dough is refrigerated for a long period it will become hard and will require some time at room temperature to soften before it can be rolled out.)

4.  Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Flour the pastry board and roll the dough into a circle large enough to cover the bottom and sides of the tart pan.  The shortbread crust is crumbly and cannot be transferred to the pan in one piece like a pie crust.  Cut the dough in sections and transfer them to the pan with a spatula.  Place them around over the base and the sides.

5.  With your fingers, press and patch them together, moulding the separate pieces together to form a shell.  Smooth and even the shell by rolling a small glass (or other cylindrical object) over the surfaces.  (A straight-sided shot glass works well.)…Roll the glass over the sides of the pastry and  lightly around the rim.  Use a small knife to trim the edges of the rim.  (Save the leftover bits of shortbread pastry if you are making some Shortbread Flowers to decorate the tart.):

6.  Prick the bottom of the pastry here and there with the tines of a fork.  Place a sheet of Parchment over the crust and fill it with beans or pie weights or place a slightly smaller tart tin on top of the paper inside the larger tin of pastry.  (The parchment in the smaller tin is only there to prevent glare in the photo.):

7.  Bake shortbread shell for 12 minutes.  (You may want to make the Shortbread Flowers while the shell is in the oven.  The recipe for them is below at the end of the tart recipe.)

8.  Remove the shell from the oven and lift out the paper along with the beans, weights or tart tin.  If some pieces of the crust cling to the paper, sliver them off with a spatula, replace them on the crust and press them down lightly:

II. Putting the Tart Together and Baking it:  The tart bakes in an oven heated to 350 F.  The oven is already preheated to this temperature for blind baking the crust and baking the optional Shortbread Flowers.

1.  Sprinkle 2 Tablespoons of the ground almonds over the bottom of the crust:

2.  Beat the eggs and sugar together until they are thick and white-ish yellow in color.  Beat in the remaining ground almonds and then, beat in the cream.

3.  Spread the currants (minus the ones used to make the Shortbread Flowers) and their juice inside the pastry shell:

…Pour the batter over them:

….and sprinkle the thin-sliced toasted almonds over the batter.

4.  Bake the tart for 25 – 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown:

…Let the tart sit for 20 minutes.  It is good served warm…or cooled.  A spoonful of slightly sweetened whipped or very thick unwhipped cream goes well with this tart, and the Shortbread Flowers make a pretty optional decoration.

III. Last Touch:  Shortbread Flowers with Redcurrant Centers

Ingredients:

  • the leftover bits of Shortbread Crust Dough
  • 1 Egg Yolk, beaten
  • a seeded Redcurrant for each ‘flower’ cut from the dough

Equipment:

  • a Pastry Board and Rolling Pin
  • a small Baking Sheet
  • a piece of Parchment Paper to place on the baking sheet
  • a Flower Cookie Cutter or any other shape you like and of whatever size you like–either to make flowers to decorate the uncut tart or to serve alongside slices of it
  • a Pastry Brush

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 F.  (If the tart shell is baking while you make the shortbread flowers, the oven is already set to this temperature.)

2.  Collect the leftover pieces of pastry into a ball, roll them out and cut flowers or whatever shape you like with a cookie cutter.

3.  Place the flowers on the parchment-lined baking sheet, brush them with beaten egg, place a currant in the center of each one and bake them for about 8 minutes, or until they are golden.  (They may bake along with tart shell if it is still in the oven.)

4.  Transfer them to a rack to cool.

5.  Bigger and smaller flowers may be used to decorate the uncut tart:

Or…small ones may be placed on the dessert plates:

Or…in the whipped cream:

A Note:  Fresh Redcurrant Tart with Shortbread Crust is part of the Occasional MenuHelga’s Cake and Coffee Party.

Acknowledgements:  The dk version of Fresh Redcurrant Tart with Shortbread Crust draws upon and revises a shortcrust recipe from the food blog deliciousdays, and adapts a filling from a recipe for Tarte Groseilles et Amande from another food blog Les délices d’Hélène.  Also,…thanks to Naomi Laeuchli for whiling away the evening hours with her mother, talking of many things and seeding little redcurrants to make a tart.

© Elizabeth Laeuchli, the diplomatickitchen, 2011-2012

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