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Before you start, collect together all the fruit you intend to use. In this recipe you can use almost any fruit you like, both hard fruits for the bottom layer and topped off with soft fruits. The fruit can be fresh, bottled, or defrosted fruit from your freezer or from a shop. The choice is entirely yours.
If using apples or pears, peel, core and slice the fruit into medium pieces and set aside till you are ready to assemble the tart.
If using plums, peaches, nectarines or cherries, remove the stones and half the larger fruits.
If using soft fruits, wash and remove any inedible bits, such as the tops and tails of gooseberries. Drain off any excess juice that forms when defrosting any soft fruit, as it could make the pastry go soggy.
You will need about a 1 litre container full of prepared fruit, to generously fill an 8 inch or 20 cm pie plate. It may seem rather a lot of fruit but it settles down during baking.
Start by making my low fat pastry recipe as described using 225 gm or 8 oz of plain flour. Roll the pastry out on a well floured pastry board or slab, till it has a rough diameter of about twice the diameter of the inside of your pie plate. These sizes do not need to be exact as it is a rustic pie we are making!
Put the pastry onto your rolling pin (it helps if you have a decent sized rolling pin) and place the pastry carefully onto the bottom of your well oiled pie plate. Try not to tear the pastry when you ease it into the pie dish, or any fruit liquid will leak out of the pastry case. You can repair any damage by “gluing” a small piece of pastry over the hole by wetting the pastry with water using your finger.
Beat an egg and paint the beaten egg onto the pastry that is going to be in contact with the pie filling, with a pastry brush. This will help to prevent the pastry going soggy.
Spread 2 or 3 tbsp of dry semolina over the base of the pastry in the pie plate. This will soak up most of any fruit juices that are released during cooking.
Assemble the fruit filling in the pie plate. Place any harder fruit such as apples or pears on the bottom layer, and finish off with any softer fruits.
Sprinkle 3 or 4 tbsp of sugar(or to your taste) over the fruit, adding any spices that you like. If you are using apples, you can add a teaspoon of cinnamon, or a few cloves. If you are using rhubarb, you can add a teaspoon of ginger. Now check that you have added all the ingredients, before you start the next stage.
Very carefully, gather the pastry and fold over the top of the fruit, sealing any joints with some more egg wash. You will be left with a gap at the top of the pastry to let out any steam. Finish off the pastry with the remainder of the egg wash.
Bake in a conventional oven at 200 C (gas mark 6) for about 30 min or until cooked. Allow to slightly cool and serve with a low fat custard, or cream if you are throwing caution to the winds!
If you do not finish the tart all at once, it will store in the fridge for several days or it can be frozen. To reheat from fridge temperature, microwave each wedge portion for 1 min until hot right through.