A beautiful tart recipe from one of Ireland's favourite chefs, Rory O'Connell.
"This is a delectable tart. The combination of date, vanilla and cream are quite delicious and even avowed date haters have been convinced by this. I like it best served slightly warm, but it is still really good the next day served at room temperature." – Rory O'Connell
Yield: Serves: 8-10
220g (8oz) flour
110g (4oz) butter
25g (1oz) caster sugar
a few drops of water
a little beaten egg
15 dates, halved lengthways and stones removed
6 egg yolks
85gr (3 1/4oz) caster sugar
600ml (1 pint) cream
1/2 vanilla pod
- For the pastry, rub the butter into the flour either by hand or using a food processor to achieve a fine crumb. If using a food processor, transfer the mixture to a bowl and add in the sugar.
- Beat the egg and with a fork add to the flour adding a few drops of water if necessary to bring the pastry together.
- Knead the pastry just enough to achieve a smooth mass. Form into a neat flat disc and cover and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- Roll the pastry on a lightly floured surface and line the flan tin. Try and achieve a slightly raised pastry edge a few millimetres proud of the top of the flan tin. Chill for 30 minutes.
- Line a 23cm (9inch) wide x 3.5cm (1 3/8inch) deep flan tin with a loose base the tart shell with parchment or greaseproof paper and fill to the very top with dried beans.
- Bake for 20 minutes, remove the paper and beans and paint the base of the tart with a little beaten egg to seal it. Return to the oven and cook for a further 10 minutes or until the pastry looks golden and just cooked.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little before assembling the tart.
- Place the halved and stoned dates on the pastry in circles with the cut side uppermost.
- Cream the egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Cut the vanilla pod in half lengthways and with the blunt side of a knife, scrape out the seeds and add to the mixture. Stir in the cream and mix gently but thoroughly.
- Gently pour the cream over the dates, being careful not to dislodge them. The filling will come right up to cover the dates.
- Bake in the oven and bake for about 90 minutes until just set. If you think the tart is colouring too much, lay a sheet of parchment paper over the tart once the skin on top has set. I like the top of the tart to be well coloured somewhat like the colour of roasted hazelnut.
- Once the tart is gently but definitely set, remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
- Serve warm or at room temperature with softly whipped cream.