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Modern Mixed-berry 'Tart

There is something magical about a medley of mixed A berries in a jelly, pudding or tart. And the spirits rise when you realise how easy it is to produce something so delightful and mouthwatering with ease and pleasure. You can use any mix of berries you like - and other soft fruit like redcurrants and blackcurrants fit in very well. You may also wish to produce tartlets rather than one large tart, in which case reduce the cooking time by about 10 minutes.

ingredients

serves 6 - 8
175 g (6 oz) rich sweet shortcrust pastry
2 tablespoons plain flour
115 g (4 oz} caster sugar
finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
large pinch of ground cinnamon
675 g (1 1/2 lb) mixed fresh berries, such as raspberries, blackberries and blueberries
115 g (4 oz) dark chocolate
175 g (6 oz) stale Madeira or sponge cake, crumbled
a little icing sugar, to decorate

method

1. Line a shallow 23cm (9 in) tart tin with the pastry and pre-bake or bake blind. Pre-heat the oven to 190°C (375°F) Gas 5.

2. Place the flour, caster sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon and fruit in a bowl, and mix well.

3. Grate the chocolate into a separate bowl, add the crumbled-up cake, mix well, then sprinkle the mixture over the base of the pre-baked pastry case.

4. Arrange the fruit mixture on top, then bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the fruit is syrupy and bubbling. Remove the tart from the oven and allow it to cool for a while, then sprinkle the tart with sifted icing sugar.

5. Serve warm or at room temperature with single cream or creme fraiche.

Cook's Tip - Variations include (i) sprinkling 55g (2 oz) mixed ground almonds and some other chopped nuts over the pastry base before covering with fruit; (11) omit the cake and chocolate and use just the fruit (but rather more of it), and to eat the baked tart cold; (ill) prepare a fruit glaze by heating up 100 g (3 1/2 oz) redcurrant jelly and pouring it over the fruit through a sieve. Let it cool before serving.

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