I really have loved making this buckwheat crust apple tart, it is another of those really satisfying dishes to create and I just get a kick out of everything about making (and eating) it. The history of tarts, shared and personal, sings out to me, it feels so right in summer, the apples, the nectarine jam is so lovely to make. I may not be the neatest baker, I’m enthusiastic and… rustic (apologies to all those highly skilled and precise rural bakers, of which there are an army (what an army that is! defeat by bake-off or by the addictive excellence of chocolate layer cake that distracts the enemy and lures them to a glutenous demise, or maybe (purposefully) over-baked rock cakes fired from slings…), but you know what I mean!
Rustic). And whether you want symmetry or not there is still so much artistry and satisfaction in creating a tart, laying out the apples, glazing them, sprinkling on the almonds. The pleasure of the slice coming away easily and the space it leaves, the pleasure in having created a family dish to share that looks so pretty. It gives and gives.
Fruit tarts make me think of my Granny. Always with a freezer packed with picked fruit for such dishes, her tarts, cooked in her AGA, would appear after dinner, and I would inwardly groan as I wished I had more space and contemplated that intense filling sweetness, though with a greedy eye on both the tart and the custard. Thick with jam they were gorgeous big things that would push me over the edge at the end of every meal. Grandparents’ cooking is always so wonderful isn’t it, their food you can eat and eat, and so unique to them, and so impossible to recreate. I can smell it all now and I’m back there, Sophie the dog (my dearest friend) close by under the table, ready to go rambling together afterwards, and really there is nowhere I’d rather be (though many places I’d like to be also). I’d so much like to watch Granny now and see how she went about things. I’d love so much a welcome hug. I’d love to make her a tart! Such big meals cooked for so many people must’ve been such a feat, let alone finishing with several puddings to go round. I never remember her being much flustered. And those tarts! Her pastry would have been made from white wheat flour and butter I think. I just remember blackberry and plum like a thick intensely sweet jam.
As a coeliac who avoids grains my flour of choice is buckwheat, instead of butter I use a vegan margarine and sugars like coconut sugar instead of refined sugar as they agree with me more. Fruit sugar is very good for the jam as it sweetens like sugar but has half the GI/ GL and so is better for diabetics. It has no nutritional value but being white it keeps the lovely vibrant colour of the fruit. Buckwheat flour pastry has substance, is packed with nutrition and nutty flavour, and goes really well with the sweetness of the fruit. It is crumblier to handle than flour containing gluten, but easy to make into pastry, filling and more dense than lighter flours. I make a thin crust loaded with fruit, and with the crunch of the crust and the toasted almonds it’s just lovely.
Making a quick and easy jam is so much fun to do. Make extra and have some to keep in the fridge for your toast, it really is delicious, quite like plum jam with the skins caramelising and melting in beautifully. The jam adds vibrancy and its sticky sweetness to the pie binding the topping together and giving its beautiful colour.
Perfect for a summers pudding or elevenses treat by itself or served with thick coconut cream, yoghurt, ice-cream or custard…
- just shy of 1 1/2 cups (240g) of buckwheat flour (you can substitute some flour for ground almonds also)
- 2 tbsp tapioca flour
- 1/2 cup (110g) of cold vegan marge or shortening
- if your fat is unsalted add 1/2 tsp of salt, otherwise a couple of pinches
- 6 tbsp cold water, icy if possible
- 2 tbsp sugar, I use coconut
- 2 cooking apples, or 4 tart dessert apples
- 1/2 cup of coconut sugar, or other natural sweetness
- 1/2 large lemon
- 3 tsp vanilla essence or paste
- NECTARINE JAM
- 2 ripe nectarines
- 6 tbsp sugar, I used fruit sugar
- 1/2 lemon
- 1/4 cup of water
SONG OF THE WEEK… Morcheeba ‘Who Can You Trust?’
P.S. WHERE ARE YOU GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF I NEED YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!