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7 RULES TO TAKE YOUR COOKING TO THE NEXT LEVEL

Nuggets of kitchen knowledge, often gleaned from time spent in the kitchen when growing up or watching a favourite chef on TV, stay with you and, over time, build into the skill repertoire of an excellent cook. To help you along the way, here are seven rules that make the difference between okay results and fantastic cooking

RULE 1

Blind bake pastry tart cases properly to avoid a soggy bottom

WHY? Tempting as it is to skip this step, blind baking the pastry until it is virtually cooked creates a crisp base, even when the filling you add afterwards is very wet. Once you’ve lined your tin with pastry, prick the base with a fork. Line the pastry with non-stick baking paper or foil, then fill with ceramic baking beans (worth buying; find at lakeland.co.uk for £5.49) to stop the pastry bubbling up as it cooks. Remove the beans and paper, then bake the tart uncovered until golden. Crucial tip: it should feel sandy to the touch.

USE FOR Tarts, flans, pies

Honey and walnut tart

SERVES 10-12. HANDS-ON TIME 35 MIN, OVEN TIME 1 HOUR 10-15 MIN, PLUS CHILLING

MAKE AHEAD

Wrapped in cling film, the pastry will keep for up to 24 hours in the fridge or 1 month in the freezer. The finished tart will keep in a sealed container for 24 hours.

• 200g plain flour

• 100g unsalted butter

• 75g caster sugar

• 2 large free-range egg yolks, beaten

FOR THE FILLING

• 3 large free-range eggs and 3 yolks

• 200g light brown muscovado sugar

• 340g clear honey

• 2 tbsp double cream

• 1 tbsp plain flour

• 1 tsp vanilla extract

• 200g walnut pieces, toasted for 5 minutes on a baking tray in a hot oven, then roughly chopped

YOU’LL ALSO NEED…

• 23cm fluted tart tin

1 For the pastry, put the flour and butter in a food processor and whizz to the consistency of fine breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and whizz to mix. Add the egg yolks and pulse until the mixture forms clumps. Tip onto cling film, wrap and shape into a disc; chill for 30 minutes.

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About Delicious Magazine

The May issue of delicious. has everything you need for the best bank holiday feasting, with a laid-back brunch, juicy tarragon roast chicken, proper lemon curd sponges and more. If you’re planning a walk, be sure to pack the brilliant picnic dishes from River Cottage’s Gill Meller. You’ll also find homemade scampi, duck ragù, good-for-you veggie ideas and easy midweek meals, plus the rules and recipes guaranteed to lift your cooking to the next level.
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