It seems my travel priorities need some adjusting.
And by adjusting, I mean, “I should probably travel past the East Coast of Australia”.
It’s not that I haven’t had the opportunity to do so (hello South and Western Australian friends!), it’s just that I’ve never really had the inclination to. Melbourne is so familiar. As is Brisbane. Tasmania is hauntingly untouched. And Canberra… well, let’s just say I travelled there frequently whilst clocking up the hours required for me to sit my driving test.
And then the Bean had to go and spoil it all by flitting off to South Australia for a weekend.
The tales she had to tell!
Visits to the zoo! Picnics at Maggie Beer’s garden! Rolling along scenic routes and drinking wines through the Barossa!
Needless to say, my curiosity was piqued. So when I saw that I had the chance to do it all for myself (and on the competition winner’s dollar no less), I had to give it a shot.
Flaky black pepper pastry holds a filling of textured baked apple intermingled with creamy, grassy goats camembert. The flavours are all tied together with the slightly floral, very earthy sweetness of brown sugar and rosemary and the tart boldness of a fig vinocotto to serve.
The best thing about it, though, is just how versatile it can be when paired with the right wine.
Now, I’m no expert at wine pairing (though I have been known to be very qualified at quaffing it), but one thing I do know is that a good glass of wine can really lift a plate of food and highlight flavours that would otherwise sit in the shadows. I’ve picked three wines to go with this tart, depending on how it’s intended to be served.
the picnic tart
It’s no secret that tarts are fantastic picnic food – it’s like a sandwich, but without the risk of the filling falling out and all over your brand new picnic dress.
For this occasion, I’ve selected the Yalumba Y Series 2009 Pinot Grigio. Without getting all wine snob on you, I’d recommend it as a light, easily drinkable wine with a slightly mealy texture. Whilst it’s not a dessert wine (which would be far too heavy for a picnic anyway… right?) the orange blossom and caramelised pear notes are present enough to complement the sweetness of the apple whilst allowing the more savoury notes in the tart (cheese, pepper, salt) to come through at the end.
I’ve also tried this tart with the Pinot Grigio as a side to a dish of roast pork with good results.
the cheese plate substitute
The savoury notes in the tart lend to its use as a substitute cheese plate, for those wanting to end their meal on a note that isn’t quite as sweet. Add a shot glass of Maggie’s fig vinocotto for some acidity and wedges of the la petite princesse goats camembert alongside to accentuate the cheese already in the tart.
For this purpose, I’d recommend serving it alongside a glass of Seppeltsfield’s Clara Blanca Amontillado. Now this drop is closer to a sherry than it is to a dessert wine, so don’t be expecting anything too sweet. Made from palomino grapes and aged for at least 15 years, you’ll get a punchy first sip full of nutty richness, honey and mixed peel flavours. It has a fairly dry finish on its own, but alongside the tart and cheese, rounds out to leave a lingering taste of raisins on the mouth. Great for the adventurous.
And finally, for all the sweet tooths out there, the tart as dessert. Serve with a whipped vanilla cream or custard to highlight the sweeter notes of the tart. A dusting of icing sugar mixed with brown sugar wouldn’t go amiss either!
For this serving suggestion, you can’t go past Gramp’s 2006 Botrytis Semillon. I’m not a huge fan of botrytis myself (it tastes soapy to me), but Gramp’s has managed to downplay the alkalinity associated with botrytis to produce a smooth, honey and marmalade accented dessert wine with apricot and orange peel notes. It has a sticky finish and slides down the throat without leaving too much of a sugary residue. Lovely!
apple, rosemary & goat camembert tart
I’ve used goats camembert by la petite princesse, a goat dairy farm located in the Barossa Valley. This particular cheese has a fairly lightly flavoured mould and isn’t as grassy and gamey as most goat dairy products – a perfect introduction for the goat-averse. Try to use flakes of smoked sea salt in the tart pastry if you can – one of my favourite parts of this tart is the surprise you get when biting into a smoky salt flake in amongst the herbal sweetness of the apples and pastry.
for the black pepper pastry
you will need:
1C plain flour
1tsp white sugar
1/2 tsp smoked sea salt flakes
1/4 tsp baking powder
50g butter (cubed)
60ml thickened cream
1 tsp cracked black pepper
how to do it:
1. Using a pastry cutter, or knife, cut the butter into the flour, sugar, salt & baking powder until you have a combination of sandy looking flour and pea sized lumps of butter.
2. Add the thickened cream and black pepper and stir to combine. The pastry will be fairly dry. Tip the dough out onto a benchtop and squish together with your hands. Pat into a circle and wrap with cling wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
for the filling
you will need:
600g apples (cored, peeled & diced / sliced)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1tbsp brown sugar
2tbsp plain flour
1 sprig rosemary
3 tbsp (more) brown sugar
50g goats camembert
how to do it:
1. Slice or dice your apples and toss them in lemon juice to prevent browning.
2. Strip the leaves of rosemary from the sprig and finely mince. Add the minced rosemary to the 3tbsp of brown sugar in a mortar and pestle and pound to release the fragrance of the rosemary. Mix with the apples.
3. Combine 1tbsp brown sugar and 2tbsp plain flour in a bowl and set aside.
4. Cut the camembert into small cubes.
5. Tear balls of pastry from the round and roll it out between sheets of baking paper to line five small fluted tart tins (or four tins & a mini springform pan). Do not trim the overhang.
6. Top the pastry with a heaped spoonful of the flour / brown sugar mix. This will ensure the base doesn’t become soggy, and will also form the base of a brown sugar sauce in the tart.
7. Lay the apple, rosemary & sugar mix on top, splitting the juices between the tart shells.
8. Top with cubes of camembert and fold over the excess pastry to partially cover the filling. Brush with milk and bake for 30 minutes in a 190C fan forced oven (or 200C conventional oven).
You can enter the Barossa’s Table competition by submitting your recipe and wine pairing suggestion. Entries close at 5pm on 31 January 2011, so be quick!