Autumnal tarts with yarrow flower meringues, star anise custard and cob nut praline

Autumnal tarts with yarrow flower meringues, star anise custard and cob nut praline

Wow, that’s quite the mouthful! And going by my diners, it was a very nice one too. In fact I got a lovely compliment from Donna Cook who told me she isn’t a dessert person but she loved it. I had a lot of fun creating the dish so thought I’d share the steps I took.

It all began with jam. I had done a photo shoot with Rob Gould, The Cotswold Forager for our events in Tuscany and there were some lovely ingredients leftover to play with. With not much of each and a couple of weeks until my first Pyromaniac Prototype event, a fig, damson and hawthorn berry jam was the obvious choice.

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Rob also brought some yarrow. At his suggestion I used it to flavour sugar. After a blitz and a sieve it was a little damp. It made ok meringues but I plan to dehydrate the rest of the sugar to get it super dry. I liked the idea of making a marshmallow with it but fear the flavour is too delicate to boil. I think meringue is still the best call.

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I made tarts with the jam and toasted and ground hazelnuts to mix 50:50 with flour for a pastry bound with a ducks egg. I was very happy with the flavour but felt the presentation lacked something. If you look at the main picture you can see I served the tart on a smear of star anise infused custard with a meringue by the side.

I piped some custard onto the leftovers (see bottom right) and that looked nicer but I think an autumnal berry meringue pie is the way to go. That way they can still sit on a smear of the custard and be sprinkled with cob nut praline.

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As you can see, a fair bit of thought goes into getting a dish right and as I work alone, the diners that attend my Pyromaniac Prototypes are hugely helpful. If you’d like to join them and give crucial feedback on dishes under development, there are tickets for 9th October, 13th November and 4th December.

Flame on!

Kathryn x


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