Festive freezer fiasco tart
2020 has been a rubbish year for most of us. And my 2020 got a little worse when my fridge-freezer chose three weeks before Christmas, four weeks before possible Brexit-related food shortages and the week after the Black Friday sales to pack it in. Cue a mad panic as I tried to salvage what I could, including a roll of puff pastry that was fast-defrosting, along with frozen mixed berries, which were rapidly turning into a fuchsia-pink mush. Still, it was a great excuse to test a dessert tart that had been living in my head for a while – and, lo and behold, it worked. A dessert was born, perfect for the festive season, even if this year’s parties are scaled down. This can work with ready-rolled puff or shortcrust pastry so it’s ideal for when you haven’t got the time, patience or inclination to make pastry from scratch.
Photo credit: Dilyara Garifullina/Unsplash
1 roll of store-bought puff pastry or shortcrust pastry
Approx. 4 or 5 tablespoons redcurrant jelly
150g mixed berries, fresh or frozen
3 tablespoons desiccated coconut
3 tablespoons caster sugar
Ginger and/or mixed spice to taste
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
- Prepare a flat baking tray with a piece of baking paper.
- If you’re using puff pastry, roll out the rectangle of uncooked, defrosted pastry on the prepared tray. If you’re using shortcrust pastry, roll it out to about 1cm thick and use a large dinner plate as a template to cut a round pastry base.
- If you’re using puff pastry, use the tip of a knife to lightly score a border about an inch from the edge. This nice edge of pastry will puff up around the berries in the middle. If you’re using shortcrust pastry, use the tip of a knife to lightly score a circle about an inch from the edge of the round base.
- Within the rectangle or circle, spread the redcurrant jelly evenly. I find it easiest to use a spoon to drop dollops of jelly on the pastry and spread and squish gently with the back of the spoon. If the jelly is being a bit stubborn, especially if you’ve kept it in the fridge, warm the spoon under the hot tap and dry before continuing with this sweet, sticky bottom layer.
- Distribute the berries on top of the redcurrant jelly and sprinkle with the caster sugar, desiccated coconut and spices to taste.
- If you’re making a shortcrust pastry tart, fold the edges up and pinch down to form a raised border to keep the filling contained, galette-style. If you’re using puff pastry, the unadorned edge will puff up in the oven and keep the filling in place.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden. Serve with cream, custard or ice cream.