As some of you know I like nothing better than poking around vintage and secondhand shops and fairs. I buy some, by no means all, of my cookery books from Oxfam Books and usually do a tour of the local charity shops once every ten days or so for props.
Last week after having lunch at a dubious Thai restaurant with a friend, I passed a local charity shop. The window was filled with 1940s and 50s children’s books. Wonderful stylised drawings in bleached-out fifties colours, The Eagle, Thrilling Stories For Boys and Every Girl’s Annual. The window was so enticing, I felt sure I’d find some cook book gem. In a corner, tucked under the book shelves, I found a basket of pretty pink china. Fluted and rounded, reminiscent in colour and shape of the 1940s book illustrations. A set of mid century Grindley Peach Leaf Petal China with serving platters, tureens, soup cups and several sizes of plates all for £7.50 (11.20 Aus $; 11.90 US$) Bargain!
Such pretty china needed a pretty cake or dessert to show them off. Despite its not being berry season, I couldn’t resist the dainty filo pastry and colour of this dish, adapted from Richard Bertinet’s wonderful book Cook.
Creme Fraiche Berry Tart
Makes two small or one medium sized tart
- 2 sheets filo pastry cut into 4 (4 sheets if making in one bigger pan)
- 25g unsalted butter
- 40g caster sugar
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- 100g creme fraiche
- 70g blackberries
- 4 strawberries
- Icing sugar for dusting
- In a small saucepan melt the butter, do not brown
- Take 2 blini frying pans (or this can be made in one larger frying pan) and butter the pans using a pastry brush
- Using a pastry brush butter one side of the first piece of filo pastry
- Place the filo into the pan, covering the base and sides, allowing the edges to overlap the pan
- Repeat with the remainder of the filo, placing 4 pieces in each pan. Each piece at an angle to the one before to create points all around the pan
- In a double boiler/ bowl over a pan of simmering water whisk the eggs and sugar together until pale and frothy. This mixture should be very frothy
- Add the creme fraiche bit by bit, whisking after each addition
- Gently heat the two pans of pastry until just browned on the underside
- Remove from the heat and place equal amounts of the fruit in each pan, cutting 2 of the strawberries in half
- Gently pour in the batter mix and place in the pre-heated oven for 15 minutes until the mix is slightly raised looking and the surface set to the touch.
- Remove from the oven leave to cool for 5 minutes, sprinkle with icing sugar and serve