The fresh summer fruits flooding the markets here in Paris, have been calling my name, particularly the small, perfumed rockmelons. I’m such a big fan of rockmelon, and one thing I particularly like, is the versatility of it. It can be served as a starter with jambon, as a simple snack or as a refreshing dessert. I decided to turn my ripe, little melon into a Rockmelon and Blackcurrant Tart.
Now, you may have noticed I don’t make a lot of tarts. To be honest, it’s because I’m terrible at lining tart shells with pastry. You would think by now practise would have made perfect, but this is not the case at all. Before my tarts get slipped into the oven where the imperfections are melted away, they are incredibly patchy – it reminds me a little of the human skin mask from the film, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre – yeah, it’s that bad! Anyway, these imperfections may frustrate me at the start, but they are quickly forgotten once the filling goes in.
This tart is the perfect dessert to bring to a BBQ or picnic on a warm summer’s night. The sweet pastry shell of my Rockmelon and Blackcurrant Tart is filled with a layer of blackcurrant purée, topped with a disk of melon mousse, which is then surrounded by blackcurrant Chantilly. It’s so fresh and zingy that even those who struggle finish desserts will have no issue polishing off this one. It’s also best eaten within one or two days, so, all the more reason to share it among friends or family!
Place the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water and set aside.
Remove the flesh from the melon and cut it into cubes. Blend for a couple of minutes or until it becomes as smooth as possible.
Pour the lime juice into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and add the gelatine (squeeze out the water first). Whisk until the gelatine is completely melted. Pour the gelatine into the melon purée and whisk to combine.
Whip the cream until it becomes mousse-like in texture. Don’t whip it too firm or it will be difficult to incorporate. Delicately fold the cream into the rockmelon purée.
Place a 20cm patisserie circle on a tray, covered in baking paper, and pour in the rockmelon mousse. You want the mousse to be approximately 3cm thick. Place in the freezer for 3 hours or until completely frozen.
The tart shell
Beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add the sugar, almond meal and vanilla. Mix until well combined. Add the egg and ensure that it is fully incorporated. Sift in the flour and salt and mix until just combined (it is ok it there are still lumps).
Roll into disk, wrap in plastic film and place in the fridge to rest for 30mins to an hour.
Preheat the oven to 160°C.
Remove the dough from the fridge and roll it out between two sheets of baking paper. Line a tart mould, 24cm in diameter, with the pastry then use a fork to prick the base so that’s it’s covered in little punctures from the fork. This will stop it rising during baking. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Bake the empty tart shell for 35 minutes or until the bottom is lightly golden in colour.
The blackcurrant purée
In a small bowl, mix together the sugar and pectin. Set aside.
In a saucepan heat the purée and the sugar/ pectin mixture. Whisk continuously as you bring it to a boil. Once the first bubble appears, continue to whisk for a further 30 seconds.
Pour into a large, shallow container and cover with plastic film so that it’s touching the surface of the purée. Allow to cool to room temperature.
The Blackcurrant Chantilly
Whip together the cream, mascarpone and icing sugar. Be careful not to over-whip it because it will continue to become firmer once the purée is added. Pour in the purée and use a spatula to fold it in. Transfer into a piping bag fitted with a large smooth tip.
Remove the plastic film from the blackcurrant purée and whisk it a little to loosen up the mixture. Pour into the prepared tart shell and use a spatula to smooth the top.
Remove the mousse from the freeze and use a blowtorch or warm cloth to heat up the sides of the patisserie circle so that you can slide out the disk of mousse. Place the frozen disk directly in the centre of the tart.
Take the blackcurrant Chantilly and pipe little domes of cream all around the disk of mousse.
Finally, use a cookie cutter to cut out melon hearts. Add them to the tart and decorate with edible flowers.
Allow the tart to defrost before serving. Can be stored in the fridge for 1-2 days.