Reminiscences of a Virgin Cook and a Rosehip Custard Tart.

I was asked to do an interview with a newspaper a few days ago about Gourmet Dough and its recent award success. I was very happy, excited and looking forward to what would be my first interview. I reflected on what to talk about and what might be discussed. I guessed that my passion for cooking or my first experiences of food may come up. I sat back on the couch that night and started thinking about how it all began, how I learned to make a custard tart.

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I can’t nail down the first time I ever cooked anything. I remember helping my sister cook apple crumble many moons ago. Pasta Carbonara is the earliest dish I recall cooking, however I doubt it was the first. Needless to say, it was pretty horrible. The pasta was ‘slightly’ under cooked. It took al dente to another level and was basically blanched pasta. For some reason there was an inch thick layer of melted cheese on top (and not a nice cheese either). Thankfully my family was very kind with their comments, otherwise my cooking career may well have been cut short.

I am equally puzzled as to why I ever picked up a knife and entered the kitchen. My dad is an excellent cook, as too is my granny and they definitely inspired me. I have very fond memories of the whole family being huddled around the kitchen table on Christmas Day, waiting for my dad to dish up the last roast potato, and I wanted to be in on the action. I could sense the happiness that this meal brought and maybe that was when I knew that food was important.

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Regardless of the first dish I ever cooked, I enjoyed cooking and thankfully just carried on.

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I suppose the real question isn’t when or why I started cooking but why do I continue to cook? It’s not as if I cook out of necessity, I cook purely because I want to. I love food and cooking excites me. Looking at pictures of Michelin quality food is electrifying. Cooking something delicious brings an amazing sense of accomplishment and in my opinion you can never get bored of cooking. As long as you continue to explore new foods and new dishes then the passion will remain. At least I hope that’s the case otherwise I have a boring life ahead of me.

I can see a big progression in my cooking over the last few years. Even since starting this blog (seven months ago yesterday!), my cooking has improved a lot. By focusing my attention on just bread, pastry and pasta I have greatly improved in these areas. The more I continue to cook, the more I want to learn as well. This rosehip tart is a good sign of my improvements.

A while back, I made my first ever custard tart. I made my own pastry, used rhubarb from the back garden and even used double cream, a rarity in our fridge. I followed the recipe religiously and I must admit it looked very nice after coming out of the oven. I portioned it into six even pieces and served it up to my family, who were anxiously waiting at the kitchen table. It looked very nice however tasted like quiche. All I will say on that tart was it would have been better served alongside a salad than a scoop of ice cream.

This Rosehip Tart was my first time making a custard tart since that experience and it’s definitely better than the last one. Then again that wasn’t very hard now was it.

It is sweet, creamy and just a very nice tart. I made rosehip syrup for the first time about a week ago and came up with this tart to use it in, because let me tell you now diluting rosehip syrup in water is not very nice. Unlike water, this tart captures the flavour of rosehip even if it doesn’t quite manage to acquire the colour. However you’ll forget all about the horrible olive green colour when you take the first bite.


Ingredients

For the Pastry

300g flour
175g butter
100g icing sugar
1 egg

For the filling

150ml rosehip syrup or cordial
150g sugar
3 whole eggs
3 egg yolks
150ml double cream

24cm tart tin

Method

  1. To make the pastry, rub the butter into the flour and icing sugar until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg, mix to a dough. Knead briefly on a surface until smooth. Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  2. Roll out the pastry to the thickness of a £1 coin on a lightly floured surface. Lift onto a rolling pin, then drape over the tart ring, leaving the excess hanging over the edge. Carefully press the pastry into the sides of the tin. Put in fridge for 20 minutes to allow pastry to chill.
  3. While the pastry is chilling, heat the oven to 180 degree Celsius. Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper and baking beans. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and then bake for another 5 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 140 degree Celsius.
  4. To make the filling, whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolks and sugar in a bowl until combined. Mix in the cream and rosehip syrup or cordial until evenly combined.
  5. Place the tart tin on the middle oven shelf and carefully pour in the filling. Bake for around 45 – 55 minutes or until the tart is just set.

 

2 comments

2 comments to Reminiscences of a Virgin Cook and a Rosehip Custard Tart.

  • Paula Garvey  says:

    Congratulations on your excellent interview with the City Tribune and your award! You are an inspiration to other young cooks and older ones who are still learning. We are looking forward to your recipe for Pork Pie, a childhood favourite of our time in London. Keep up the good work and look forward to sampling your wares. All at no.18…

    • evanoc  says:

      Thanks a million Paula, the Pork Pie recipe will be going up in a few days time :)

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