We work with Steve at The London Honey Co., and it’s always a pleasure. His depth of knowledge is immense, as is his passion for bees. Try experimenting with different kinds of honey for this tart. We've used bell heather, which has a beautiful floral flavour, but feel free to shop around if you want something with more or less potency.
FOR THE BASE...
Sweet Pastry Tart Case
MAKES ENOUGH FOR 3 X 2OCM FLUTED TART CASES
- 250g butter, at room temperature
- 180g caster sugar
- 1 vanilla pod, split lengthways and seeds scraped out
- 2 free-range organic eggs
- 500g plain flour beaten egg yolk, to glaze
At the restaurant we get through lots of sweet pastry so we make huge batches of these and freeze them.
Cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla seeds until light and fluffy and almost white in colour.
Beat in the eggs one at a time – if the mixture looks like it is going to separate, add a little flour. Fold in the rest of the flour in 3 batches and bring it together to form a dough. Divide the dough into 3 pieces, then wrap in cling film and store in the fridge or freezer until you need it.
To make a blind-baked tart case, take a piece of dough and roll out to a 25cm circle, 3mm thick. Use it to line a 20cm fluted loose-bottomed tart case. Leave to rest in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 170°C. Lay out 2 sheets of cling film to really get into the grooves of the tart case, one on top of the other, and press into the lined tart case. Fill with baking beans or dried haricot beans and bake for 15–20 minutes. Carefully remove the beans and continue to bake for another 5–10 minutes. The pastry should be a pale golden colour and firm to the touch – if the centre is still a little soft give it another minute or two in the oven. Once it’s definitely baked, make sure there are no holes (you can patch them up with a little leftover pastry), then brush with a little egg yolk to glaze.
FOR THE FILLING...
- 500ml whipping cream
- 10 free-range organic egg yolks
- 200g bell heather honey
Whisk the egg yolks and honey together in a large bowl until combined, then pour over the hot cream, whisking continuously; it should start to thicken slightly. Pass the custard through a fine sieve and leave to rest for 5 minutes. Skim off the layer of foam that will form on top.
Preheat the oven to 110°C. Half-fill the blind-baked tart case with the cooled custard, then carefully transfer to the oven. Bake for 45 minutes–1 hour. You are looking for a slight wobble in the centre of the custard. Leave to rest for a couple of hours before you cut into it.
To serve, slice the tart into wedges and serve with a generous spoonful of crème fraîche.