S2, Ep 3: Coffins, Jam Tarts and Dirty Cars

 
 Magnolia's from Annabelle's mum's garden

Magnolia's from Annabelle's mum's garden

 Reading material for this winter week

Reading material for this winter week

 And the perfect spot to read it: Annabelle's mum's sofa

And the perfect spot to read it: Annabelle's mum's sofa

 Iris making the plywood coffin

Iris making the plywood coffin

 Gillian's jam tart

Gillian's jam tart

Gillian's jam tart

There is nothing simpler, and better, to eat than a homemade jam tart. I like to make up batches of pastry on days when I feel in the mood. Then I wrap portions up well, and freeze them. That way, I always have pastry on hand when I'm in the mood for a tart or pie.

This is the same sweet, shortcrust pastry recipe as the one I first in Season 1, episode 4. I think it’s a good one for you to have up your sleeve. It tastes good, it’s crisp and it’s easy to roll out and handle. But feel free to use your own favourite recipe, or buy a good shop bought one that is made with real butter.

23cm/9” round shallow pastry tin. If you have no tins, just make it inside the metal lid of something which I did this day at Annie's  Tenterfield cottage (aka Dispatch HQ), or just make a flat one on a metal baking sheet and fold over the edges of the pastry to create an edge to your tart. 

Tip: because of the butter content in this pastry, you don’t need to grease your tin.

225g /1 ½ cups of plain (all purpose) flour

1 tablespoon of icing sugar (you can use icing mixture or confectioner’s sugar) - you can leave this out if you like if, you are using this pastry for a jam tart.

140g of cold butter , chopped coarsely

1 large egg yolk (in Australia, a large egg is 60g)

2 tablespoons of iced water (approx)

Here’s what to do:

Preheat your oven to 180°C/350F. If you are using fan-forced, drop the temperature a bit. I'm sure you know how your oven works.

Buzz the dry ingredients in your food processor  until the butter is evenly distributed, then add the egg yolk (buzz,buzz), then the iced water. Buzz until it has come together in a ball. Or make it by hand. Crumble the butter and flour together with your fingertips until you have the mixture that looks like sand, and then pour in the egg yolk and water, and bring the mixture together with your hands or a knife with a rounded blade. 

With you hands, knead the pastry together until you have a smooth ball. I then like to roll it out between two sheets of baking paper. Ease it into the tin, pressing it gently into the corners. Trim it up but keep the trimmings for later to mend any cracks or add some decoration. Prick the floor of the pastry case with a fork. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

When the pastry is chilled, remove it from the fridge and pop it straight into the hot oven. Bake it until it starts to turn golden. Remove from oven and leave aside to cool. Meanwhile, warm your jam a little so it is easy to spread on the pastry. If large cracks have appeared in your pastry, use little bits of the pastry trimmings as polyfilla to fill in any cracks or gaps that have developed in your pastry shell. After patching it up, spread the base generously with jam. Decorate wth pastry trimmings if you like. Pop it back into the hot oven. Remove when jam bubbling hot. LEAVE TO COOL before attempting to eat.


Medlar Jam c/o Michelle Crawford

 Here is  Michelle 's recipe for damson cheese from her book A Table in the Orchard. I used medlars instead and was very happy with the result.

Here is Michelle's recipe for damson cheese from her book A Table in the Orchard. I used medlars instead and was very happy with the result.

 Bletted medlars

Bletted medlars


A brilliant essay by Lady Camilla Dempster from the equally wonderful book, The Englishwoman's Kitchen, edited by Tamsin Day-Lewis

The Englishwoman's kitchen.jpg
An Englishwoman's Kitchen.jpg
An Englishwoman's Kitchen.jpg

Links

I highly recommend taking the time to listen to this brilliant conversation that ABC's Richard Fidler has with Jenny Briscoe-Hough who had an epiphany about the business of funerals after her own mother's death.

Tamsin Day-Lewis's book The Englishwoman's Kitchen

Must read, according to Annabelle (Gillian is not 100 per cent convinced): Karl Ove Knausgaard's My Struggle series