This year we had a wonderful Christmas with our families back in New Zealand. After spending the previous three Christmases on our own, cocooned in rustic cottages in various wine regions around the country, it was lovely indeed to return home, help create a shared feast, watch the kids gleefully open their presents, and bunk down amongst various animal and human bodies to watch Robin Williams’ Flubber into the night.
Over the last three years it has been my tradition to put my Christmas energies into the creation of a celebratory breakfast. Christmas breakfast was never a thing in my parental household though. Growing up, breakfast was a mere after-thought, a dutiful act of sustenance sandwiched between the main event of opening presents and the rounds of present-viewing, playing and swimming that followed. In contrast, Christmas dinners were of epic proportions. For a few years in a row our extended family ate dinner seated around the table tennis table, which groaned under the weight of roasted turkey and chicken, trays of kumara and potatoes, and steaming bowls of Poppa’s beans. Nana, Mum and my aunties slaved for the entire afternoon to create these feasts.
Fast-forward a few years and Christmas has entered a new incarnation, but dinner is still the main culinary focus. Thankfully for me, I have an accommodating family who were willing to incorporate my own breakfast tradition into the day. My sister and I prepared the gluten free Breakfast Tart from Sarah Britton’s new book and followed this with the Corn & Feta Fritters I had perfected the year before. Although it was very easy on the eye, the tart was not quite what I had imagined in terms of taste and texture. Still, a breakfast tart is a beautiful concept and there was enough promise in the recipe to try it again back home.
In the version pictured here, I paired sunflower seeds with oats, almond meal and a little wholemeal flour. The resulting crust is tender and nutty, marrying the toothsomeness of a traditional shortcrust pastry with the salubrious qualities of whole seeds and grains. The yoghurt is scented with lemon zest and honey and I have taken the fruit in a late-summer direction, using earthy blackberries and peaches lifted by the bright tang of raspberry coulis. This is breakfast, yes, but a very special one indeed.
If you plan to make this for a special occasion, I recommend baking the crust and preparing the coulis the night before. Both will keep overnight (the coulis in the fridge and the crust in a sealed container) so that in the morning, it will be a simple task to stir the yoghurt, wash the fruit and assemble the tart. This is a breakfast that will impress – a celebratory start to any festive occasion.
Summer Celebration Breakfast Tart
For the tart crust:
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup almond meal
Wholemeal flour (or gluten free flour)
1/4 tsp fine salt
1/4 cup coconut oil, chilled until very cold
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp iced water
For the coulis:
1 cup frozen raspberries
2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp runny honey
For the tart filling:
2 cups Greek yoghurt
Finely grated zest of half a lemon (reserve the other half for grating on top)
2 Tbsp runny honey
Selection of fresh fruit (I used 250g blackberries, 125g blueberries and 1 peach)
First make the tart crust. Toast the sunflowers seeds for a few minutes in a dry pan over medium heat. As soon as the seeds start to release their oil, remove from the heat, spread on a plate and place in the fridge to cool. Measure the rolled oats and grind in a food processor for 2-3 minutes. Add the cooled sunflower seeds and grind together with the oats until both are fine. Add the almond meal, then remove the mixture to a bowl. Weigh the mixture and add just enough wholemeal flour to bring the total weight to 220g.
Return the dry ingredients to the food processor. Add the salt, chilled coconut oil, maple syrup and iced water and pulse to combine. Keep pulsing until the coconut oil is cut into tiny pieces (but is still visible) and the mixture is beginning to clump together. Tip onto a board, press firmly together into a ball. Roll out the pastry on a piece of baking paper until it is 4-5mm thick and large enough to fit a 23cm loose-bottom tart tin. If your pastry is soft and warm by this stage, a common problem in the heat of an Australian summer, return the rolled pastry to the fridge to chill for 10 minutes before flipping into the base of the tin. Press the pastry into the corners and use any trimmings to patch the cracks. Chill the lined tin for a further 10 minutes while you preheat the oven to 190°C / 375°F. Bake the crust for 15-20 minutes until the edges are beginning to turn light brown. Set aside to cool (or store overnight in an airtight container).
To make the coulis, measure the raspberries, water and honey into a small saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook until the raspberries have released their juices and broken apart, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and place in the fridge to cool.
To prepare the filling, measure the yoghurt into a medium bowl, add the honey and lemon zest and stir to combine. Wash and cut the fruit however you please.
To assemble the tart, carefully transfer the crust to a serving board or dish. Spread the yoghurt evenly over the surface then dot with spoonfuls of raspberry coulis. Use a knife to gently swirl the coulis through the yoghurt. Arrange the fruit on top and grate over a little more lemon zest. Serve immediately, as the yoghurt filling will quickly start to soften the crust.