Do you remember, she asked, when we stole red currants in that derelict garden, you know where we had this picnic and we all of a sudden noted the roof peeking out behind a maze of brambles and woods and the red currants glinting in the sun and we waded through the high grass and got our legs scratched, don’t you remember, it was near Crozant, and we waded over to the place and picked those red currants, warm and juicy, they never tasted better, never feeling sorry because quite obviously no one had picked red currents from those bushes for ages.
What you’ll need
For the buttercrust you’ll need about 75g of very cold butter, 150g of spelt (or all purpose white, or, given the situation, any) flour, a pinch of salt and a few drops of very cold water, sugar.
For the filling you’ll need a bowl of red currants, four eggs, 250 to 300g sugar (depending on how biting your red currants are) a teaspoon of starch (corn or potato).
How to cook it
Prepare the buttercrust by swiftly mixing butter, flour and salt. Add a few drops of water (as many as needed) to obtain a silky crumbly dough. Let sit in the fridge for at least half an hour. Then roll out in a thin layer of sugar and gently transfer to the mould, sugar side up, and punch a couple of holes with a fork.
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C (no fan). Separate the egg white from the yolk. Add the starch and 150 to 200g sugar to the egg whites and set aside at room temperature. Whisk the yolks with 100g of sugar until creamy and the sugar fully dissolved. Stir in one third of the red currants. Transfer to the mould. Add another third of the red currants on top and put into the oven for 35 min, bottom half. After 25 min, whip up the egg whites Marie Antoinette’s hair style* and add the rest of the currants to obtain a ridiculously pink mass.
Take the tarte out of the oven and cover it with the pink egg whites. Put back into the oven leaving the door open so that the temperature slowly drops to about 80°C and put on the fan. When baking temperature is reached, close the door. Depending on ventilation of your oven, you may stick a ladle in to keep it slightly open. Bake for about 1-2 hours. The meringue is done as soon as it feels crisp to the touch.
How to eat it
With coffee, a classic. However, given the general enthusiasm for being stuck in lockdown, you might very well opt for something more rapturous, such as red currant liqueur. Or champagne with a couple berries in. Or plain gin, for want of the latter two. Enjoy!
*Egg whites are considered whipped to satisfaction whenever they are suited to be towered up on your head like Marie Antoinette’s hair.