Although the depths of winter can leave you feeling dark and depressed, nature livens up the season with some very cheerful, colourful and vitamin C rich foods. Citrus and kiwi are two such fruits that come onto season during the winter. Did you know that the kiwi is one of Italy's biggest exports? This may be one of the least-known facts about this country. This vibrant cure for dreary days all started with a bag a kiwis that a friend gave us. They have a vine in their yard and were up to their ears in kiwis. But there are only so many tart kiwis one can eat before one starts to think: "what in the world am I going to do with the rest of these things??"
Sometimes a little free time in the kitchen and a bunch of fruit can yield spectacular results! When I entered the kitchen that afternoon, I certainly didn't expect to wind up with this gorgeous fruit tart. But for me, inspiration comes when I least expect it. Now, I wish I could tell you that I'm an organised, methodical person of clear mind and I set out to make a grand fruit tart. But no such luck--I am an artist at heart and my accomplishments in life are made in a much more Bohemian sort of way--I need to feel inspired.So I started to raid the cabinets for said inspiration, when I came across a packet of vanilla custard. Now, I am not one to typically use packaged mixes, but I happened to have this box of crema pasticcera (vanilla custard), where I found, in an unassuming packet of yellow powder, my inspiration. In a nano second, my mind flashed together all the other ingredients on hand, including a package of cookies for the crust, a handful of fresh clementines for contrast of colour and flavour and I saw spirals of green and orange dance across my eyes. What did I do next? I grabbed a knife!
1 packet vanilla custard or pastry cream (or your own freshly made custard)
200 grams or 2 cups of shortbread style cookies
50-100 grams or 2-3 Tbsp cold butter
1 spoonful orange liquor
Preheat the oven to 250ºF/110º C. Peel both fruits, break the clementines into wedges and carefully slice the kiwis into even slices. This can be done ahead because kiwis are full of vitamin C (anti-oxidant) so they won't turn brown (oxidize) when cut. Then prepare the quick cookie crust by processing broken cookies and cold butter until it makes a soft, pliable 'dough'.
Dump the 'dough' into a tart dish and press it out to evenly cover the dish, pushing it flat and evenly across the base and up the sides.
This will take a bit of patience and technique, but it works great!
Poke the bottom with a fork to prevent bubbling and pop it into the oven for no more than ten minutes. You just want to amalgamate it and crisp it up. Remove it when it looks like a big dry cookie.
While the crust is in the oven, make your custard according to directions. I always add a tablespoon or two of liquor to anything I make. After all, liquor makes everything better! When the crust is out and cooled, add the custard cream and spread it until it covers the entire area. Arrange the fruit slices, one by one, being careful to work evenly and not get the custard everywhere.
By laying the fruit in concentric circles, you can create quite a striking tart!
How gorgeous is this? It is sure to cheer you up on even the dreariest of winter days.
Serve it with a great cup of tea and you are set!