This time tomorrow, I’ll be hanging around the international departures terminal at Melbourne airport. Maybe by the time you read this, we’ll be up in the sky somewhere on the fourteen hour flight between home and LA, or even on the second leg of the journey towards New York City for the Saveur awards. Then it’ll be an airbnb in Williamsburg, Brooklyn – a whole week of exploring the city that I’ve only dreamt about for half my life. Eating momofuku cereal milk soft serve, Dominique Ansel cronuts, takeaway bagels, Union Fare croissants, Four & Twenty Blackbirds, Smorgasburg… My list is currently insanely ambitious for one girl walking the city.
That pre-holiday frenzy is all go today. It’s been building for the past few weeks, really. The smile that keeps breaking loose, the intoxicating bubbles of excitement mixed with anticipation growing the closer it gets. Like feeling caffeinated before I’ve even contemplated my morning flat white. It’s a whirlwind of activity getting work finished in time alongside long moments of distraction, browsing for places to go, things to see while there. A lengthening list of what to pack and what to do before I head to the airport, though I’ve only just pulled out my suitcase.
But first. This Carrot, Ginger & White Chocolate Tart with Whisky Ginger Ice Cream. I was concerned us three girls might struggle to finish all of the 26 cm tart in its pastry encased, almond crusted form – but two days later, there was only a solitary piece left languishing in the fridge, ready to be quietly abducted by someone for dessert. To clarify – we don’t really ‘do’ pies here in the Southern Hemisphere. They’re just not a thing. I bet 4 out of 5 people you meet walking down the street would have never tried pumpkin pie, and maybe 3 out of 5 pecan. Fruit pies in late summer are a rarity, and a dedicated pie shop? No way. You might find a slice on a restaurant dessert menu, but it’s more likely to be in ‘tart’ form, like this. Our meat pies are famous though – mince, steak & cheese or potato-topped – often from a service station or small town bakery as a stop on a long summer road trip, and always eaten with your hands, greasy with pastry flakes and topped with a squeeze of tomato sauce (ketchup, I mean).
I imagine this carrot and ginger version to be a little like a pumpkin pie. It’s a gingery short crust pastry topped with a filling that I can’t quite put my finger on: butter and vanilla roasted carrots; a hint of white chocolate sweetness; caramel-like brown sugar with a hint of spice; a border of nutty meringue-sugar almonds. Don’t be nervous putting carrots in a pie – you grate them into cakes, remember? And pumpkin is even stranger. It’s not dominant, but an unlikely sweetness that blends seamlessly into the filling. The no churn ice cream (it’s my go-to, if you haven’t noticed) is what takes it to the next level with a small whisky hit and small pieces of vivid crystallized ginger dispersed through out. Gradually dripping down the sides of a slice of carrot pie, it’s one of my all time favourite desserts.
And if you have any tips or recommendation for my way-too-short time in New York, please let me know!
- The ice cream is best made ahead the night before (or up to 3 days prior) to serving the tart
- This recipe is for a 26 – 28cm tart tin – with a 26cm tart I had a little bit of filling and pastry to spare, so made a mini tart as well.
- 500ml cream (whipping cream)
- 1 x 400g can sweetened condensed milk
- 2½ tablespoons whisky or bourbon
- ⅓ - ½ cup finely chopped crystallised ginger
- 230g flour
- ⅔ cup icing sugar
- pinch of salt
- 165g butter, cold, diced
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 900g carrots, washed and chopped into 2 cm chunks
- 60g butter, diced
- 1 vanilla bean or 1 tbsp vanilla essence
- 125g white chocolate, finely chopped
- 1½ teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 egg + 3 egg yolks
- 250g brown sugar
- 310g sour cream
- ½ cup sliced almonds
- 1 egg white
- 2 tablespoons caster sugar
- In a large bowl, whip the cream to medium peaks.
- Slowly drizzle in the sweetened condensed milk and continue beating to just combine.
- Fold through the whisky and chopped crystallized ginger.
- Pour into a loaf tin or container. Cover and freeze overnight.
- Blitz the flour, icing sugar, ginger and salt together in a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until a bread-crumb like texture forms. Add the vanilla and egg and pulse 10 times. The mixture will still be pretty dry and crumbly. Turn out onto a clean surface and gather and press together. Shape into a disc, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
- Grease a 26-28cm tart tin. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured bench to about 3mm thick and line the tart tin, pressing firmly into the sides of the tin. The pastry will be hard to roll out at first but don’t worry, it will soften as you go. Think of it as an arm workout! If it rips at all or you find that one edge is too thin, it is easy to use the leftover pastry scraps to patch it back together.
- Trim the pastry to form a neat edge - I usually just roll my rolling pin over the edge to cut through the pastry. It normally leaves enough extra pastry scraps to line another mini tart tin as well, but this is totally up to you.
- Rest the lined tart tin in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes
- Line the tart shell with baking paper (making sure it covers the top edges) and fill with baking weights or raw rice. Bake blind for 15 minutes in a 180°C oven. Cool.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Place the chopped carrots on the tray with vanilla bean + seeds and diced butter. Toss to combine.
- Roast for 1 hour or until tneder when speared by a fork. Toss the carrots every 20 minutes or so to spread the butter evenly and ensure even cooking.
- Place the hot carrot mixture (including butter and vanilla seeds, but remove the vanilla bean if you used one) in a food processor. Blitz to finely chop.
- Add the finely chopped white chocolate and blitz until fully melted and combined.
- Add ground ginger, egg, egg yolks, brown sugar and sour cream. Blitz until very smooth..
- Reduce oven temperature to 160°C. Pour the carrot pie filling into the blind-baked tart shell and bake for 50 minutes.
- Meanwhile, stir together the sliced almonds, egg white and caster sugar. At 50 minutes cooking time, remove the tart from the oven and gently press the almond mixture around the side of the tart.
- Return to the oven for a further 20 minutes or until the carrot filling is just set.
- Cool to room temperature. Chill for 2-3 hours before serving.
- To serve, dust the pie with icing sugar and serving with the whisky & ginger ice cream.