playing with flour

Category: Tarts/tartlettes

Summer Fruit Tarts

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So again I need to apologize, it has been a very hectic couple of weeks. I’m finally home but not exactly settled. We’re in the middle of packing and cleaning in order to move so I can start work next year. The house is a mess, my body is killing me and today I scrubbed out the oven in 40 degree heat. While I’ve been wanting to post, it unfortunately hasn’t been a high priority. Once things calm down and we’re in our new place, I can get back to regular baking and posting!

These tarts were made for some good friends of mine and were a perfect way to use some of the amazing fruit we get here in spring and summer. One of the things I look forward to the most each year is eating that first nectarine, so sweet and juicy. It doesn’t feel quite like summer without it. We’re really lucky in Australia to have such amazing summer stone fruits – nectarines, plums, apricots, peaches… and I tend to go overboard at the farmers market, leaving me with so much there is no way we could eat it all while they’re still good. Previous years I’ve made jams (and may still do so this year) but these tarts make for a great light dessert or afternoon treat.

The shortcrust pastry I used in this recipe isn’t my favourite, it’s a bit hard to handle and so buttery it practically melts in your hands. Having said that it does taste great and is worth the messing around if you have the patience. I would recommend keeping it in the fridge or freezer when not needed and if it is too hard to roll out you can cheat and press the dough into the tart tins. Don’t make the mistake I did of not weighing down the pastry when baking as it will rise a considerable amount.

The great thing about these tarts is that all the components can be made ahead of time and keep in the fridge or freezer until you’re ready to assemble them. These can be adapted to any fruits but I love the look of layered nectarines and plums. To make the center roses cut a thin slice of fruit and roll it up then layer further slices around it. Make sure the outer layers are already in place before adding the rose or it won’t stay together.

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Summer Fruit Tarts

Shortcrust pastry

200g plain flour
120g unsalted butter, at room temperature
70g caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
Pinch salt

Preheat your oven to 200° and prepare tart tins. Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Slowly add the egg and beat until combined. Add the flour and salt and beat until you get a soft dough. Gather the dough together, wrap in glad wrap and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Once cold cut the dough into even sections and work with one section at a time, keeping the rest in the fridge. Either roll the dough out between two pieces of baking paper first or press the dough into your tins directly. Prick the base of each tart with a fork and weigh down the dough with baking weights or beans before baking. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool completely before removing baking tin.

Crème patisserie

300ml milk
3 egg yolks
50g caster sugar
Vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract
20g plain flour
20g cornflour
10ml butterscotch schnapps

In a heatproof bowl whisk the sugar and egg yolks together. Sift the flours into the bowl and mix to form a paste.

In a saucepan add the milk and vanilla and heat until just boiling, stirring constantly. Remove the vanilla bean and slowly add a little at a time to the egg mixture, whisking quickly. Once all incorporated pour back into the saucepan and bring to the boil, continuing to mix well. The mixture should thicken significantly. Remove from the heat and add the butterscotch schnapps and stir through. Cover with glad wrap and place in the fridge to cool.

Assembly

When the tart bases have cooled brush them with some thinned apricot jam to prevent them from going soggy. Spoon the cooled crème patisserie into each tart then arrange a selection of fruit on top. Brush more jam onto the fruit to give it a glossy look.

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Cherry-Ripe Tartlettes

It’s with cherry stained fingers that I write this, and let me tell you, it is worth it. I took an ordinary trip to the supermarket this morning with the vague idea of making something sweet for dessert. I didn’t have a clear plan until I came across these gorgeously red and sweet cherries on special, and suddenly it all came together.

One of my favourite chocolate bars growing up was the Cherry-Ripe. Dark chocolate, coconut and juicy cherries, it was rich and decadent and that is what I wanted to recreate. I knew I had a box of Oreo biscuits at home so they became the base of these tartlettes but any dark chocolate flavoured cookies would work well. Adding coconut to the base gives it a great texture and stops the coconut being overpowering.

I recommend using your fingers to remove the pips from the cherries. Although messy, if you do this over the ganache you can capture all the cherry juice and add an extra boost of flavour. The ganache is deliciously creamy and slightly soft due to the cherry juice and biting into the chunks of fruit gives a sweet and powerful cherry burst.

You could use glacé cherries if desperate but the result would be very different (and likely too sweet). It’s actually interesting how much I enjoy cherries considering the intense hatred I have towards artificial cherry flavouring but after eating these, it’s not hard to see why.

Cherry-Ripe Tartlettes

100g Oreo cookies (or other dark chocolate cookies)
¼ cup desiccated coconut
50g unsalted butter, melted
100g dark chocolate
100g cream
150g cherries

Place Oreo cookies and coconut in food processer and blitz until you have fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and process further until you have a damp mixture. Press the crumbs into the tartlette bases firmly and refrigerate until cold.

Finely chop the chocolate and place in a bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until just boiling then pour over the chocolate. Allow to sit for 1 minute without stirring. Using a whisk slowly stir from the center outwards until you have a smooth ganache.

De-pip and chop the cherries into small pieces. Add to the ganache and stir to combine. Spoon the ganache mixture into the tartlette bases and refrigerate until set. Top with coconut if desired.

Makes 4 10cm tartlettes and can be easily doubled.

Strawberry Rhubarb Tartlettes

One of my favourite things about winter in Queensland is the abundance of fresh delicious strawberries. An impromptu invitation for family to come over for dinner left me wondering what quick recipe I could whip up that would take advantage of these without disguising them too much with other flavours.

This recipe is fast to make, especially if you have the dough pre-prepared. It’s just a matter of macerating the fruit and baking. While strawberries and rhubarb are a classic combination you could easily substitute with other berries or stone fruits such as plums and nectarines. The pistachios on top give colour and an added crunch but can be left out if you’d prefer.

This recipe makes 6 10cm tartlettes. You will only need about 1/3 of the amount of dough but this can be halved or the excess can be stored in the fridge or freezer for later use.

 

Tart dough

285gm unsalted butter, at room temperature
1.5 cups caster sugar
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 tsp salt
Seeds from 1 vanilla bean or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
3.5 cups plain flour

Beat the butter in a mixer until smooth and creamy. Add the caster sugar, almond meal, salt, vanilla and eggs and mix until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Add the flour half a cup at a time, mixing on a low speed until the dough comes together. It should be quite soft.

Roll the dough together with your hands and wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for at least an hour. The longer it cools the easier it will be to handle. The dough can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month.

When ready to make the tartlettes, break off a piece of dough and place the rest back in the fridge. Roll the dough out to approximately a 0.5cm thickness. You can make the dough thicker or thinner depending on your preference but cooking times should be adjusted accordingly. I like to roll my dough out on a piece of baking paper to avoid sticking to the bench and you can dust with some flour if the dough is hard to handle.  Fit the dough into your tartlette tins (I like to sit my tin upturned on the dough then flip it all over with the baking paper) and lightly press in. If you have any gaps or cracks use the scrap pieces of dough to fill them. Prick the bases with a fork. Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 180° and blind bake your tartlette cases for 10 minutes or until lightly golden. You can weigh the dough down with weights or beans if you like but I found it wasn’t necessary.

Allow to cool before adding the filling.

Strawberry rhubarb filling

1.5 cups diced strawberries
1.5 cups diced rhubarb
¾ cup caster sugar
1.5 tbsp cornflour
Juice of half a lemon

Preheat oven to 180°.

Combine the strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, cornstarch and lemon in a bowl. Stir to mix. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.

Spoon the filling into the prepared tart shells but don’t overfill them. Add a spoonful of the juices from the fruit to each tartlette. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the filling is no longer runny.

Allow to fully cool before removing the tartlette cases. Top with extra diced strawberries and chopped pistachios. Serve with dollop cream or ice cream.



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