• Lara Flanagan

Vanilla Cream Fruit Tart

We have been blessed with the most incredibly beautiful winter in Tenterfield. I can’t remember a winter before that had such a succession of glorious mornings filled with the most magical light. It is only the 1st of August, so it is probably a little premature, but I am starting to think of spring. One of my trees is already in full blossom, and the winter sunshine is making me think of days at Boonoo Boonoo and floating for hours in Platypus Hole.

I woke up this morning craving this tart. The thinnest olive oil pastry, a decadent creamy vanilla filling and an over the top amount of fresh fruit to finish it off. The finished result made my heart sing, it was exactly what I had imagined.

Winter sunshine with thoughts of spring and a divine fruit tart – pretty much a perfect day.

Vanilla Cream Fruit Tart

Olive Oil Pastry

The key to this pastry is to keep everything cold. When cold, the pastry is easy to work with. You can even make it the day before if you are organised enough and let it chill in the fridge overnight.

About an hour before beginning the recipe, pour the olive oil into a container and place it in the freezer. Freeze until solidified.

I use a food processor when making the pastry. I find it is fast and easy, and it keeps everything cool.

2 ½ cup plain flour

2 tablespoon caster sugar

2/3 cup olive oil – partially frozen, see above

4 – 8 tablespoon iced water

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

In your food processor, place the flour and the chilled olive oil and then process until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Mix 4 tablespoons of the water with apple cider vinegar. Pour into the processor while it is processing and then add additional water until mixture forms a ball. Wrap the dough in cling film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes

After 30 minutes, pre-heat the fan-forced oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Roll out the pastry and use it to line a 10-inch loose-bottomed fluted tart tray. Once the shell is lined with the pastry, prick the bottom with a fork, cover with baking paper and pie weights and blind bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, remove weights and paper and check if needs further baking. If so return to the oven for 10 minutes. If not allow to cool, but leave in the tart tray.

Vanilla Cream filling

1 cup raw cashews – soaked for at least 4 hours

1 cup almond milk

1 cup water

1 teaspoon agar agar powder

6 tablespoons maple syrup

2 teaspoons vanilla essence

Blend drained cashews, almond milk, vanilla & maple syrup until ultra-smooth. Do not rush this part as it is better to blend for longer to ensure there is no granulation from the cashew nuts.

Combine water and the agar agar powder in a small saucepan, whisk and bring to boil. Immediately reduce heat and cook for two minutes on a low heat and continue whisking for the duration. (Make sure you cook this for two minutes as the cooking time is part of the thickening process.)

Add the agar-agar water to the vanilla cream and blend until well combined and ultra-smooth.

Add mixture to the tart base and allow it to set.

Decorate with your choice of fruit – I used 2 punnets of strawberries, 2 punnets of blueberries and mint from my garden for this tart.

NB. Agar agar powder is a vegan gelatin substitute made from seaweed. You can source it from your local health food store, (I get mine from Tenterfield Health), and in these crazy times, if you can’t get to a health food store, you can order it online.

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