Monthly Archives: June 2011

Pomiane’s Cherry Tart

This is based on a recipe by Pomiane, which he in turn based on a recipe given to him in his youth; allegedly how they cooked cherry tarts in the Île de France in 1860. For such a simple recipe, it’s marvellously tasty – thin chewy pastry and lots of runny juice. I’ve taken a few liberties with it.

To begin with, don’t make this with the best cherries. Those aren’t in season yet, and should simply be washed and devoured on the spot. Also, it’s quite runny, so not very portable. Assuming a six inch flan ring, you will need:

  • 300g bread dough, risen once and knocked back
  • 450g cherries, washed and stoned
  • 30g caster sugar
  • some butter to grease things

Bread dough?! Yeah. Pomiane suggests one ought to be able to order it at one’s local bakery, and apparently you can still do this in rural France. Otherwise, make a batch, and any you don’t use can be kept in the fridge for a couple of weeks.

Anyway, start by stoning the cherries. There is no shame in owning a cherry stoner, unless you use it for olives, in which case I will slap you if ever I hear about it. There is no shame in donning an apron, as this is messy. There is also no shame sampling a few cherries as you go, this will tell you how sweet they are.

This is the point where I’d consider getting the oven going at 220°C for a fan forced. Elsewhere, roll out the piece of dough until it’s about ten inches in diameter, and quite thin, as though you were making a pizza base. But no holes. Ever.

Generously butter the baking sheet and the flan ring, and lay the dough on top, gently pushing it into the corners.

Use a knife or pressure of your palm against the flan ring to separate the excess dough.

Sprinkle half the sugar in, and then pack in the cherries, as tightly as they will go. If there are any spaces left, tear some cherries in half and squish the halves in. Sprinkle the rest of the sugar evenly over the top. (You may have some leftover cherries: due to a massive miscalculation I had 400g of stoned cherries left, which are now sitting in a clean jar with a generous splash of cheap vodka.)

Put the whole lot in the oven for 25 minutes. Remove, sprinkle with a few teaspoons more sugar, and leave to cool. It will have shrunk a little so it shouldn’t be too hard to ease off the flan ring.

Serve when almost cold. Mascarpone if you’re feeling fancy, but plenty of vanilla ice cream is better.


Pomiane suggests working 50g of butter into the pastry. Don’t think this is necessary. Also, his tooth is sweeter, and he recommends 50g of sugar. Not sure he’s dealing with the same sweet cherries that I get from the supermarket.

I wonder what would happen if you poured clafoutis mix into the tart before baking?


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Ginger Beer

This is cloudy, fiery, and a teensy bit alcoholic. But oh, so good for a Summer’s day, even one where it’s cold, rainy, and with a maximum of 18ºC.

The quantities used produce 2L of finished product, allowing for spillage and avoidance of sediment.

Peel a piece of root ginger, with the aim of ending up with 50g of the stuff. (Wrap and put the excess in the freezer for later.) You could grate the ginger, or just chop it up into pieces and give them a going over with a rolling pin.

Get the kettle going.

Plop the ginger in a 3L capacity bowl, along with 250g caster sugar and the juice of two lemons, around 50mL, if you’re in a tight squeeze and using stuff from a bottle.

Pour the contents of the kettle on top, you’re going to need 2.5L boiling water, so you may need to boil and pour again.

Leave this to cool until it’s below 45ºC – use a thermometer or your little finger if you trust it. Add a level teaspoon of yeast, a level teaspoon of cream of tartar, and stir. (If it’s too hot, it will kill the yeast, so don’t skip the cooling phase.)

Cover and leave overnight (i.e. around twelve hours) somewhere cool, but not in the fridge.

Now, for the bottling. Always use PET drink bottles, preferably ones that have been used to store fizzy drinks, as you know they will be able to stand the pressure. Never, ever, ever use glass bottles. Make sure they’re clean. You now need to get the ginger beer into the bottles, without any stray bits of ginger or sediment from the bottom of the pot. So pour carefully and gently, using a fine mesh sieve (or a coarse one lined with muslin) and a funnel.

Fill the bottles to within about an inch of the top. Screw the caps on tight enough so that when you squeeze the bottle, the air escapes. Keep squeezing until all the air has escaped, and then tighten the caps.

It will need 2 days before it’s ready. Store the bottles at room temperature, but somewhere cool, and out of direct sunlight. There is a risk that the bottles may explode, so make the necessary arrangements. I put mine in a plastic tub, with a garbage bag tied over the top. From time to time, inspect the bottles, and if they’re bulging, loosen the caps momentarily to let out the excess gas.

Oh, the glamour!

Chill, and drink within a few days. There will also be sediment in the bottles, so pour carefully.

Variations

  • use different kinds of sugar, and/or a blend of sugars
  • vary the sugar:water ratio – 100g:1L seems the norm but you could try 80g:1L if you wanted something a little sterner
  • the sugar I used previously shared a jar with a vanilla pod, which added a nice aroma and mellowed the fire of the ginger
  • another lemon won’t hurt, but you’ll end up with gingery lemon squash
  • play with the quantity of cream of tartar to vary the amount of fizz – I think my one level teasp is probably at the upper limit
  • pop in a couple of cloves
  • include the zest from the lemons, if they’re unwaxed
  • Nigel Slater suggests a bashed up lemongrass stalk
  • some sources recommend the yeast you use for beer or winemaking, breadmaking yeast is bred for speed and aggression, but doesn’t stay the course