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Gooseberry and Marshmallow Lattice Tart

This tart has a very simple recipe with a play on the word mallow. As far back as the Middle Ages, the marsh mallow - a common purple flowering plant related to the hollyhock - was a highly valued herb. It was said to withstand all the evils of witchcraft and was used to protect the skin by mashing the herb together with egg white. It is from this paste that we get the term marshmallow - the synthetic and very modern sweet used here. I hope this somewhat tacky twentieth-century decoration is excused on the grounds that the tart looks good on the table.

ingredients

serves 6-8
225 g (8 oz) rich sweet shortcrust pastry
675 g (1 1/2 lb) gooseberries (canned or frozen gooseberries may be used, if fresh ones are not available - see Cook's Tip)
175 g (6 oz) demerara sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 egg yolks, beaten
beaten egg, to glaze
about 5 marshmallows

method

1. Line a deep 23 cm (9 in) tart tin with the pastry (leave a few strips of pastry for the lattice) and pre-bake or bake blind. Pre-heat the oven to 220°C (425°F) Gas 7.

2. Top and tail the gooseberries and wash and drain them in a colander. Place the gooseberries in a heavy-bottomed pan with enough water to cover. Add the sugar and cook gently for about 10 minutes or until the gooseberries are soft, stirring occasionally. Add the lemon juice and cinnamon and give the mixture a light mashing up with a fork or potato masher. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool.

3. Mix the egg yolks into the gooseberry mixture. Place the mixture in the pre-baked pastry case, then top the tart with the reserved pastry strips to make a lattice. Brush the lattice strips lightly with beaten egg. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the lattice strips are golden brown. Remove the tart from the oven. Pre-heat the grill to high.

4. Prepare the marshmallows by slicing them in half so that they are quite thin (trim the edges if they are a bit large). Place one in each square provided by the lattice on top of the tart. Place the tart under the hot grill, just long enough to brown the tops of the marshmallows.

5. Serve hot or warm with thick cream.

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