Honey and Stout Tart

Wow, this is awkward. I’m sorry we had to meet under such circumstances, but it’s not often I come across a recipe that I’m so unsure about.

When Richard says this honey and stout tart is similar to treacle tart, I wonder if the stout had gotten to him. Should the idea of a tart conceived on St. Patrick’s Day have rung alarm bells in my head? Mind you, it’s not that it’s bad. It’s just that I don’t quite get it. It’s rib-stickingly moist, and tastes like it’s trying really hard to be a treacle tart, so then why ruin it by adding a mountain of oats? Don’t get me wrong, I love oats. I just don’t see the appeal of having this much of it in a tart. Why Richard why?

“Richard Corrigan?” B chimes in, “Didn’t he make what the judges considered to be the worst dessert ever, on Great British Menu?” Did he? I must have a short memory for such things. I offer a spoonful to B. He chews, nodding thoughtfully, and finally, this man who normally quite happily eats anything I put in front of him, admits that he doesn’t really want any more.

So anyway, I’m including the recipe, for anyone to whom the combination of pastry and porridge sounds particularly appealing. Or, rather than make this, I’m offering a free tart (minus a few tasting slices) to any person who is willing to come pick it up from where I live. Add some whipped cream spiked with whisky and a handful of fresh raspberries, and you have crannachan in tart form! I also highly recomended this tart for people requiring more fibre in their diet.

Honey and Stout Tart :
(serves 6-8; from The Clatter of Forks and Spoons by Richard Corrigan)

Pastry :
250g plain flour
a pinch of salt
125g butter, cut into cubes, plus extra for greasing
50g caster sugar
2 eggs, plus 1 egg beaten, for eggwash
sweetened buttermilk or double cream, to serve

Filling :
4 Bramley apples [I used Granny Smiths]
1 x 330ml bottle stout, such as Guinness
200g rolled oats
250g golden syrup
250g honey
250g stale breadcrumbs
6 eggs beaten
4 dessertspoons lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange

To make the pastry: Put the flour and salt into a bowl and rub in the butter with your fingers until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and mix well, then mix in the eggs a little at a time, bringing the mixture together with your fingers until you have a dough. Alternatively, put the flour, salt, butter and sugar into a blender and pulse until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the eggs and pulse again until just combined, then turn out into a bowl or on to a clean work surface and mould into a ball. Try not to work the dough any more than you have to in order to bring it together. Cover the pastry with clingfilm and chill in the fridge for about 20 minutes to make it easier to roll.

Preheat the oven to 150’C. Have ready a 25cm, loose-bottomed flan tin, greased with a little butter.

On a floured surface, roll out the pastry into a circle about 5cm bigger than your tart tin. Roll the pastry loosely round your rolling pin, then drape it over the tin and gently press it in. Trim carefully round the edge with a knife.

To bake ‘blind’, line the pastry with greaseproof paper and scatter over a layer of dried beans – this will stop the pastry from rising up. Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes until pale golden, then remove and turn the oven up to 180’C.

Immediately after taking the tart tin out of the oven, remove the greaseproof paper and beans and brush the whole of the inside of the pastry case with eggwash. This will seal it and prevent it from cracking as it cools – it may still crack a little, but don’t worry.

Peel and grate the apples. Pour the stout into a saucepan, add the apple, bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and let the liquid reduce by about half. The apple will go brown but it’s natural. Take off the heat and allow to cool until just warm.

Add the rest of the filling ingredients and mix well.

Pour the mixture into the pastry case and bake in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes until set. Serve with sweetened buttermilk or double cream.

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