Memories always seemed to be tied up with smells and tastes. Certain perfumes remind you of people or great holidays from years ago, and certain tastes can bring you back to a particular place instantly. The smell of freshly cut grass makes me feel that I’m about to sit my leaving cert exams again, the taste of salty soda bread reminds me of my Granddad’s kitchen, Marc Jacobs Daisy perfume always brings me straight back to my favourite holiday in Sicily, and the taste of gooseberries always remind me of my Nana.
Despite living in town, my Nana has a large garden and when we were younger it seemed that there wasn’t much she didn’t grow in there. She has two apple trees lining the left hand side of her garden and had a fruit and vegetable patch in the centre of her garden which used to produce strawberries, raspberries, rhubarb, gooseberries, and lettuce amongst other things. The gooseberries and rhubarb were my favourites as you wouldn’t get them much in the supermarkets so the only time I tended to taste them was in my Nana’s kitchen. Gooseberry jams and gooseberry tarts were produced every summer to all the visitors to her house and I always found the taste absolutely delicious.
I was popping into my local green grocer recently and they had the first batch of gooseberries this summer, I decided I had to try and bang out a gooseberry tart. I added some strawberries to mine for a bit of colour, but you can leave them out, or add apricots or other fruits instead if you like.
Shortcrust pastry to line and cover one tart (I always use this sweet shortcrust recipe and add orange zest and nutmeg but you can always buy some)
1 kilo of gooseberries
200g strawberries sliced
1/3 cup sugar
1 beaten egg
1 handful strawberries
- Grease a baking tin and roll out the pastry, try and keep the pastry as thin as possible without being too thin (you don’t want it to crack or tear). If it’s too think it won’t get crispy all the way through. Line the tray with the pastry and pop into the fridge with the remaining pastry.
- Pop the gooseberries into a pop with the sugar and two tablespoons of water, stir until cooked and stewed through. Try not to break up the gooseberries too much with your spoon. This will take 10 to 15 minutes.
- Pour the gooseberries into the tin and scatter the sliced strawberries on top. Cover the tart with the remaining pastry, use a little beaten egg to seal the pastry to one another along the edges. Brush the rest of the beaten egg to coat the top of the tart and sprinkle with a little sugar.
- Pop into an oven preheated to 180C for 30 to 40 minutes (until golden on top). If it browns too quickly for you cover with tinfoil and keep in the oven.
- For the strawberry cream blitz the strawberries with a hand blender until smooth and add in all the cream and blend until whipped up.
- Serve a slice of the hot tart with a big dollop of strawberry cream and some scattered strawberries.