Tartlets - a perfectly proportioned pud
When it's warm outside and we dine al fresco, we tend towards easy, fuss free puds like ice cream. But every now and then one wants to make an effort. And that's when a beautiful Lily Vanilli inspired tart can come in handy! The tart cases take a little bit of effort, but it's worth it given the rewarding silence that drapes over the table as everyone relishes sweet, decadent flavours.
We also found this to be a fabulous camping pud - you're going to think I'm crazy, but it's so easy. You have your elements: the tart cases, the filling, the custard, some oaty crumble and the flaked almonds (and the latter two are not necessarily integral to the success of the pudding) and you can just put them all together when you're ready to feast. Under a blackened sky with strung out stars and a bright safari moon, it feels almost ridiculous to have such a delicious dessert.
This weekend, I just had my baking mojo ON. It was one of those. Marmalade, two different freezable dishes for the kids, cereal, home made honeycomb, bread, and roast chicken for Sunday lunch... and these tarts. I chose to fill them with some kiwi (hidden in the pick with thick custard), strawberries and passion fruit and a little zing of mint from a freshly picked sprig. You could fill them instead with other fruit, or with spiced stewed apples, or with a chocolate ganache, or with plums at Christmas time, or anything else you can think of! The clever thing about Lily's recipe for the tart cases is that you paint them with egg wash which means the filling won't make them soggy - you have at least a few hours.
So embrace your inner tart and feast on these!
Ingredients - Tart Cases
250g plain flour
100g icing sugar
pinch of salt
150g butter - cold
2 egg yolks
Method - Tart Cases
In your Magimix: put in the dry ingredients - flour, sugar and salt, and give it a blitz (which I have found to be almost equivalent to sifting). Once you've done that, add the butter and blitz until it looks like breadcrumbs. Be very careful not to overwork it! Lightly whisk the egg yolks and egg, and then add to the Magimix until it all comes together - again being careful not to overwork. Remove, shape into a flat-ish disc, and put in the fridge for an hour. Or overnight - just take it out an hour before you need it.
When you're ready, roll it out on a floury surface to about 3mm thick. Then cut into discs and put these into a prepared muffin tin. Put in the fridge for ten minutes, and whisk up one egg to make an egg wash. Remove the tart cases from the fridge, and line with baking paper and then on top of that, your baking beans. Bake in the oven at 180 for 10 - 15 minutes or until starting to turn golden. Remove from the oven, and take out the baking beans and paper, and brush the tart cases with your egg wash, before returning to the oven for 2 more minutes. Allow to cool until required.
Ingredients - Custard
5 egg yolks
30g caster sugar
360g double cream or Brown's mascarpone
sprinkle of sea salt
1/2 vanilla pod
Method - Custard
Stir the egg yolks and sugar together in a heat proof bowl. Heat the cream, vanilla and salt in a pan until just starting to give off steam but not boiling. Add it in a thin stream to the egg yolks sugar mixture, and whisk away as you do so. Handy tip: twist a tea towel into a circle and put your bowl onto that to steady it - that is unless you have a willing assistant (child, husband etc) to help you. Then place this bowl over a saucepan of boiling water, ensuring that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl, and whisk continuously (just think of your bingo wings, or lack of), until you have a thick mixture. Don't worry about the vanilla pod at this stage, just keep whisking. You'll know it's thick enough when you can run a spatula across the top and it leaves a little line. There should also be no bubbles left at this stage. Remove and allow to cool.
Ingredients - Oaty Crumble
110g butter, cubed & cold
110g plain flour
110g brown sugar
inch of sea salt
Method - Oaty Crumble
Preheat the oven to 180. Put all the ingredients in a bowl and rub together with your fingers to form breadcrumbs. Spread on a lined baking tray and freeze for ten minutes. Bake for 10 - 15 mins before removing and crushing with a rolling pin or empty beer bottle.
BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER!
Take your tart cases, and put in a bit of custard - say a third of the way up. Then add the fruit / filling. On top of that your oaty crumble, and finally your toasted flaked almonds. The final flourish comes with the addition of your mint sprig, and voila!