Welcome in spring with a grown-up Easter lunch
You’ve done it, you made it. Forty entire days and nights without *insert addictive vice here*. Can’t say that either of us were that successful with lent, but we enjoyed the pancake part. Be that as it may, the end is neigh, and feasting and gorging yourself on chocolate and booze must be the only thing on your mind, and as always, G&T is here to lend a hand. Stylishly, of course.
“Easter is a fantastic time to eat seasonally. Some of the best food we have to offer in the UK is available in springtime”
It is sometimes easy to forget why we celebrate such holidays, so just to remind you the story goes a little something like this. Jesus is to be put to death by the Romans for spreading Christianity. On Thursday is the last supper, which was the Passover meal we covered last week. They ate bread and wine, Matzah lasagne wasn’t a thing 2000 years ago. Then, one of his disciples, Judas tells the Romans where Jesus is (dick move) and on Friday he is crucified and buried in a tomb. Then on Sunday, get this, one of his cronies goes to check the tomb and its open and Jesus isn’t there. So, the disciples all freak out, naturally, that is some terrifying zombie shit right there. Jesus then comes back to them, with the marks of the crucifixion on his hands and feet, and then transcends up to heaven. Fun fact (we didn’t know this): The hollow Easter egg we know and love represents the empty tomb of Christ. Hidden symbolism strikes again.
In T’s household, Easter lunch is a special day in the culinary calendar, second only perhaps to Christmas. Not only do they eat gorgeous food, but they get together as a family. A family of fantastic cooks may we add. Easter is great for children, but the end of lent should be for grown-ups too, so the suggested menu bellow tries to cover the various bases. Kicking off with a gin and tonic for those who gave up alcohol, and a beautiful fruit tart for those who gave up sugar, how you had the stamina for either we will never know. Easter is a fantastic time to eat seasonally. Some of the best food we have to offer in the UK is available in springtime like welsh lamb, seasonal greens and native fruit.
“Sweet, delicate and fragrant.”
So, what is on the menu?
We would be here for another 40 days and nights if we did recipes for all these dishes. They sit quite comfortably in T’s repertoire, but you can find any of these online if you so wish. The frangipane tart is made with fresh, seasonal fruit and ground almonds. It is sweet, delicate and fragrant. We made it with yellow plums, but it is lovely with pears, apples, apricots, or cherries. It is traditional at Easter in the UK to eat Simnel cake- a heavy fruit cake topped with eleven marzipan balls, representing the twelve apostles (minus Judas for being a traitor). Like a lot of traditional food, it isn’t that nice, so with we have tried to pay homage it in a dessert that is actually edible.
“A top tip from T is to place your processor parts in the fridge or freezer to get cold before you use them. They key to prefect pastry is to keep it very cold before it goes in the oven, and it should be handled as little as possible.”
It is so simple to make, and we promise you will Impress your guests, especially with the addition of the sugar-craft on top. This is made from melting 100g sugar in a saucepan and making a dark caramel. There is a specific temperature, but we didn’t have a sugar thermometer so we just guessed. Always professional over here at Ginseng & Thyme. It should be a dark amber colour, runny and quite sticky. For the love of god, let it cool down before you touch it to check is consistency, it will be hotter than the sun straight out the pan. You make the sugar nest by placing some oiled cling film on top of a small bowl turned upside down. Take the sugar off the heat and run it over the bowl with a spoon or fork in various directions. So, simple, yet so impressive, this tart is utterly divine, and an ideal way to end a feast.
Have a lovely Easter, and we hope you gorge yourself silly
See you next Thursday,
Frangipane tart with seasonal fruit
For the Pastry
200g plain flour
100g cold butter, cubed
50g caster sugar
1 medium free range egg, beaten
For the filling
100g unsalted butter, softened
100g caster sugar
2 medium free range eggs, beaten
100g ground almonds
1 tsp. almond essence
1 tbsp. almond liqueur (optional)
400g of fresh seasonal fruit
(we used yellow plums)
You will also need a 28cm diameter, 3-4cm deep loose bottomed, fluted tart tin.
To make the pastry, combine all the ingredients in a food processor and blitz until combined into a dough. It may need a teaspoon or two of water to coax it into a fully formed dough. A top tip from T is to place your processor parts in the fridge or freezer to get cold before you use them. They key to prefect pastry is to keep it very cold before it goes in the oven, and it should be handled as little as possible. Once this is done, place the dough the fridge for two hours or overnight.
Preheat your oven to 180 and grease your tart tin with a little butter.
Roll out the dough on a floured surface to a thickness of 2-3mm. Carefully roll it over the rolling pin and into the tin. Press it in and cut off the excess. Prick the bottom of the pastry with a fork a few times and blind bake it for ten minutes with ceramic baking beans, rice or pasta to stop it rising. Make sure to put greaseproof between the pastry and the beans.
While it is baking, combine the filling ingredients in a bowl or mixer and combine thoroughly. Slice the fruit into segments. Take the tart out of the oven and remove the greaseproof and baking beans. Pour the frangipane mix into the pastry case and arrange the fruit on top. Pop back in the oven for 40 minutes, or until golden brown.
Roll out eleven marzipan balls and place on the tart. Dust with icing sugar and serve cold or warm with clotted cream or custard.