I first foraged sea buckthorn on the shores of East Lothian this time last year, towards the end of their season, and even gathering just a small amount of berries was well worth the effort. If you’ve not tasted them before imagine a sharply citrus berry with tropical notes; you can buy the juice, which is on the pricier side, but now I see why! If you can get your hands on some berries or juice, they make a lovely curd to fill tarts and top toast. Here’s my recipe for sea buckthorn tarts:
For the juice:
100g seabuckthorn berries
Water to cover
For the curd:
3 tbsp juice
For the pastry:
100g plain flour
One tbsp cold water
12g caster sugar.
Wash the berries and cover with a little water in a heavy bottomed pan. Simmer until the berries burst, helping them give up their juices with a potato masher. Sieve to remove the seeds and set aside.
To make the curd, heat the juice and sugar until the sugar is dissolved, then add the egg and butter and mix over a low heat until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Make sure you mix continuously or you will get scrambled eggs! Set aside in a bowl with cling film touching the surface to avoid a skin forming. Pop in the fridge to set while you make the pastry.
Now make the pastry. Rub the butter into the flour and sugar, then use a knife to cut and stir and mix in the water to form a stiff dough. Pop in the fridge, wrapped in cling film, for 30 minutes to prevent shrinkage.
Meanwhile preheat the oven to Fan 170C. Grease a twelve hole bun tin. Roll the pastry out very thinly and cut out circles just bigger than the holes in the tin. Line the tin with the pastry rounds, then fill each with greaseproof paper and rice or baking beans. Bake for 15 minutes, remove the baking beans and parchment then bake for another 5 – 10 minutes.
Leave the tarts to cool a little then remove from the tin and dry completely on a wire rack. Fill with a couple of teaspoons each of curd. There might be a little curd leftover, depending how deep your cases are!