A few weekends ago was my grandmother’s birthday, and we threw her a big family lunch at my parents’ house. My family is pretty large, so at a family lunch, such as this one, there can be as many as twenty people.
Obviously the most important thing about the day is the company and the conversation, but the food is really important too! (As is the wine, especially to my grandpa, who took a great deal of care to tell us exactly how old the wine was and where it had come from).
Catering for twenty is never an easy task, especially when some of them are vegetarian, and thus live on lentils and quinoa, and others are traditional English 84-year-olds who are terribly stuck in their ways and would never dream of eating a lentil.
Luckily, my mother is a complete genius in the kitchen, and also has the patience of a total saint, so doesn’t mind cooking for two days prior to the event! I tried to help too, of course, because I love any excuse to cook anything. I think most of the time, however, I was probably more of a hindrance than a help!
I was left largely (but not completely) in charge of dessert. Of course, crumbles (one apple, one rhubard, both with custard) were on the menu (Grandpa’s favourite!) But I also couldn’t resist making this really yummy raspberry and frangipane tart. It’s a crisp pastry shell, filled with a thin layer of raspberry jam, covered in soft frangipane and fresh raspberries and topped with a drizzling of icing.
It went down a hit (except with my uncle, who has an extremely strong allergy to nuts, for whom it did not go down at all, because I was pretty speedy to warn him against it. Definitely didn’t fancy a hospital run on that day!)
Of course, there was cake and copious amounts of tea. It was a birthday, after all.
We were also lucky enough to have the full English sun shining down all day, so, all in all, it was quite perfect.
Raspberry Frangipane Tart
For the pastry:
250g cold butter
150g plain flour
1 tablespoon caster sugar
Begin by rubbing the butter into the flour, until it resembles bread crumbs. I also do this by hand, purely because I love it, but you can use a food processor if you’d rather. Stir in the caster sugar. Slowly add cold water to the mixture, mixing until it comes together to form a ball of dough. Roll out the pastry and place into a greased pie tin, then leave to rest in the fridge for at least half an hour.
For the frangipane:
175g caster sugar
125g ground almonds
65g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
about 2 tablespoons of raspberry jam
1 punnet of fresh raspberries
Beat together the butter and sugar until pale. Add the almonds, flour, baking powder, and eggs and mix until well combined.
To assemble, begin by blind baking the pastry. Pre heat the oven to 200 degree. Lay a piece of baking paper over the pastry and fill with baking beans, normal dried beans, rice, whatever you have! Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the paper and beans and bake for a further 5 minutes. The pastry should be golden brown.
Reduce the oven to 170 degrees.
Spread a thin layer of jam over the pastry base, then pour in the frangipane filling. Press the raspberries into the frangipane. (I did this by hand- kind of messy I must admit! If you have a better way of doing it, please let me know!) Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the filling has set and is golden brown.
For the icing:
5 tablespoons icing sugar
2 teaspoons of water (add more or less to get the consistency you want! Keep it thick to retain the white colour)
Mix together icing sugar and water, then drizzle over the tart.
Serve warm or cold and in the sunshine!