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 Grape Tarts
Preparing time:30mins- 1hrs
Cooking time:30minew- 1hrs


For the pastry

* 175g/6oz plain flour
*1 tbsp icing sugar
* 75g/3oz butter
* squeeze lemon juice

For the French pastry cream

* 110g/4oz sugar
* ½ tbsp cornflour
* 1.5litres/2½pints milk
* 6 free-range egg yolks
* 3 tbsp plain flour
* drop vanilla extract

For the topping

* bunch white grapes, sliced in half
* bunch black grapes, sliced in half

For the apricot glaze
* 6 tbsp apricot jam
* 3 tbsp water
* 3 tbsp Armagnac


1.Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5.

2.To make the pastry, sift the flour and icing sugar into a large bowl. Rub in the butter to make a soft breadcrumb-like texture. Add enough lemon juice to make the crumb mixture come together to form a firm dough.

3.Roll out the pastry on a light floured surface and line a 25cm/10inch well-buttered flan dish.

4. Line the base of the pastry with baking parchment and then fill it with baking beans. Place on a baking tray and bake blind for 20 minutes. Remove the beans and parchment and return to the oven for another five minutes until the base is browned. Transfer the base to a wire rack to cool.

5.For the French pastry cream, set up a large saucepan quarter filled with boiling water. In a smaller saucepan (small enough to place in the larger saucepan without spilling the water), combine the sugar and cornflour.

6. Stir in the milk and cook over a direct heat, stirring all the time, until the mixture comes to the boil. Boil for one minute.

7. In a mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks lightly, add a little of the hot mixture and stir together. Pour the eggs back into the milk and sugar mixture, stirring all the time. Cook the mixture in the smaller saucepan set over the large pan containing hot, but not boiling water. Stir until thickened - for five to ten minutes.

8. Strain and cool the mixture and add a drop of vanilla extract.

9.Half-fill the baked pastry shell with French pastry cream and arrange slices of grapes on top of the tart.

10.To make the glaze, gently heat the jam, water and Armagnac in a pan until smooth. Smooth the glaze over the tart with a pastry brush and refrigerate to set.

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