passover week 2024 - passover blackberry meringue tart and a tribute to bill granger

I'm pleased to report that I've finally managed to make a successful passover pastry tart shell, although it took me 2 attempts. Thankfully the recipe makes enough pastry for a 9 inch tart shell so I had more than enough to play with. The pastry, which I adapted from an Aran Goyoaga recipe, is very fragile so treat it with care. On my first attempt, I blind baked the shell for 20 minutes but when I removed the paper the sides slumped and the base puffed up. 

Unbeaten, I learned from my mistakes and the second time around I baked the pastry shell for much longer before I removed the paper, which I did with extreme caution. It took about 45 minutes for the shell to cook through and I took the extra step of sealing the baked tart shell with egg white before I spooned in the filling. The other good news is the pastry shell keeps well in an airtight container so can be made some time in advance.

This was to be a lemon meringue pie but the filling made with potato starch was so gloopy, I binned it. Instead I turned to a 
recipe I'd bookmarked some time ago. It's a Bill Granger recipe and l
ike so many I was shocked and saddened by the news of Bill Granger's untimely passing. In part this post is a tribute to Bill's influence on the Australian restaurant scene and to my cooking.  Bill managed to make simple tasty food accessible to all and I was a regular at bills surry hillsI've slightly adapted the technique but the flavours are all Bill's and the tart is magnificent. The filling is not very sweet but is balanced out by the meringue topping.

Here's the recipe for you which makes a 16cm tart but to make a 23 cm tart, just double the filling and topping ingredients. You will have enough pastry. If you'd like to make this tart gluten free, dairy free and pareve, you can make the coconut crust from hereFor all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.

Passover blackberry meringue tart 
1 scant cup (125g) superfine matzo meal
¼ cup (25g) almond meal
2 tbs tapioca starch
1 tbs caster sugar
pinch sea salt
110g unsalted butter, cut into 1cm pieces
1 egg yolk
2 - 4 tablespoons iced water
1 egg white, broken up with a fork

Finely grated rind and juice ½ lemon 
350g fresh or frozen blackberries
1 tbs water
1 tbs potato starch mixed with 1 tbs water
55g caster sugar

80g caster sugar
20mls water
45g egg whites
pinch salt
Pastry - this makes sufficient pastry to make a 
23cm tart. Any leftover pastry can be wrapped in plastic and frozen for later use.

Combine the first 5 ingredients in the food processor and pulse to aerate. Add the diced butter and pulse ten times until butter is the size of peas. Whisk together the egg yolk and 2 tablespoons of ice water. Add it to the dough and pulse until it comes together. Add more ice water if needed. Knead the dough a couple of times and wrap it in plastic wrap forming it into a flat disc and refrigerate for 1 hour. 

Roll the pastry out to 5mm thickness on a sheet of baking paper and line a 2 cm deep 16 cm diameter tart ring. Trim and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Place a baking tray on the centre rack and preheat the oven to 180⁰C, conventional. Cover the pastry with a crumpled sheet of baking paper, then fill with pastry weights. Place the tart shell on the preheated oven tray and blind bake for 30 minutes. Carefully remove paper and the pastry weights and bake for a further 5-10 minutes or until the tart shell is golden.
Gently brush the still warm pastry with egg white and return to the switched off oven for 10 minutes or until the egg white has dried out. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature on a wire rack. Unmould when cool.

Heat the lemon rind and juice, 190g berries, 55g caster sugar and 1 tbs water in a saucepan over medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes until berries start to release their juices. Cook, crushing with a spoon, for a further 3 minutes or until softened. Strain the berries, reserving the juice, before returning the berries to the saucepan. 

Mix the potato starch with the cold water, then add to the saucepan containing the berries and cook for 1-2 minutes until the berries have thickened and are shiny. Stir through the remaining berries, remove from heat then set aside to cool completely.

Combine the remaining 80g sugar and 20 ml water in a saucepan. Heat gently over low heat for 1-2 minutes until sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium and cook until the temperature reaches 120°C on a sugar thermometer.

Meanwhile, in a stand mixer whisk the egg whites and salt to stiff peaks. Whisking constantly, add hot sugar syrup in a slow, steady stream. Continue to whisk for 10-15 minutes until meringue cools to room temperature and is thick and glossy.

Just before serving, spoon the reserved berries into the tart case and top with meringue, making soft peaks with the back of a spoon. Gently brown the meringue using a kitchen blowtorch. (Alternatively, place the pie under a hot grill for just a few seconds.) Remove from the pan, place the tart shell onto a serving dish then slice and serve with the reserved berry sauce.

This is best served the day it's made although the tart will keep for a few hours stored in the fridge.

Edible crisp Passover pastry and I managed to cut a neat slice as well - a Passover miracle!

See you all again tomorrow with another bake for Passover Week 2024. 

Bye for now, 


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