Ripe Tart

Cherry Fairs have been popular events in the fruit growing areas of Britain even today. Chertsey in Surrey will this year celebrate its 563rd Cherry Fair. Let’s hope our Community Orchard Group can keep our very own Cherry Day celebrations going for as long! Sadly the traditional Cherry Fairs in Ripe, about 10 miles from my childhood haunts, died out during WW2. The very small village of Ripe sits in a thinly populated area, there is very little there except The Lamb Inn, beautiful views and some good walks. Although the Cherry Fair has not survived, their traditional celebratory pie survives.

Ingredients - serves 8

8oz (225g) plain flour 2 eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
pinch of salt 1lb (450g) cherries, stoned
1oz (25g) cornflour 3oz (75g) ground almonds
4oz (100g) butter few drops of almond essence
4oz (100g) icing sugar, plus an extra 2 teaspoons  


  1. Pre-heat oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas Mark 6.
  2. Sift flour, salt, cornflour and the 2 teaspoons of icing sugar into a bowl.
  3. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  4. Add the egg yolk and 2 tablespoons cold water and stir to bind together.
  5. Knead lightly on a lightly floured surface, roll out and use to line a 9 inch (23cm) fluted flan tin.
  6. Bake blind for 10 - 15 mins, until the pastry is set.
  7. Remove from oven and reduce temperature to 170ºC/325ºF/Gas Mark 3.
  8. Arrange the cherries in the flan case.
  9. Mix together the remaining icing sugar, eggs, ground almonds and essence and beat well then pour over the cherries.
  10. Bake for 50 - 60 mins, until the top is firm and golden.
  11. Serve hot or cold.

This tart can be made with tinned cherries but I consider this sacrilege considering where we live. Buy local cherries in season, stone and freeze them then they are ready to enjoy all year round.


Beltane - Sweet Woodruff May Cup

SWEET WOODRUFF (Galium odoratum)

This is a herb that can be planted or bought in a pot.