Chocolate and Raspberry Tart

 This tart has been staring at me since I got the Gü Chocolate Cookbook, the picture is stunning and constantly whispers ‘try me, make me, eat me!’ whenever I happen to glance at it.

So this time I gave in and tried it.  My mum had gone to Iran for a month and I was playing the role of housewife when we had guests – I made a three-course meal and chose the Chocolate and Raspberry Tart as dessert.Read More »

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Lemon & Raspberry Tart with Poppy Seed Pastry

The name of this recipe is enough to get me hungry.  I saw this in my new copy of Lorraine Pascale’s Baking Made Easy and had to try it.  It was the perfect dinner party dessert and I had to get over my fear of tarts.

The tart dish I have is a little bigger than the one recommended in the equipment so I made 1/3 extra to make sure there was enough to fit.

I started by making the poppy seed dough – I whisked together the butter, sugar and vanilla in a bowl and added in the eggs one at a time.  I then stirred in the flour, salt and poppy seeds till it made a soft, uniform dough. I then wrapped it up and let it cool in the fridge for 2 hours.  Simple – I don’t know why I was so worried about making tarts!

After the 2 hours, I rolled it out and attempted to ‘lay’ it over the tart tin.  After about 4 pathetic attempts I gave up doing it Lorraine Pascale’s way and did it my way.  I rolled the dough out on baking parchment and flipped it onto the tart tin – not the most elegant method but it worked.  A few patches were needed here and there but otherwise it seemed to be fool-proof!

Lemon & Raspberry Tart with Poppy Seed Pastry

The tart went back in the fridge for 15minutes to harden up before it went into the oven for a blind bake using baking beads.  After about 15 minutes I took the beads out and baked for a further 5 minutes.  Now the recipe said that my tart shouldn’t have much colour on it but mine was turning a light golden so I took it out a little earlier and let it cool.

Lemon & Raspberry Tart with Poppy Seed Pastry

 The filling was definitely the easiest part of the bake.  I whisked together the eggs and sugar for a few minutes, added some double cream and finally the lemon zest and juice.  This was poured into the tart case and baked until it was slightly wobbly in the middle.

I’m starting to realise that my oven is a lot hotter than it should be so turned down the heat by 15-20 degrees and checked on it 15 minutes sooner.  It was barely wobbly in the middle – oops!

Lemon & Raspberry Tart with Poppy Seed Pastry

I took it out just in time and let it cool. Then it was simply a matter of decorating the top with raspberries and a dusting of icing sugar and hey presto, my first proper tart!

Lemon & Raspberry Tart with Poppy Seed Pastry

The tart looked quite impressive and was very well received (especially when the guests had already tasted some of my Chocolate Truffles earlier on).  It was served with a drizzle of single cream and tasted absolutely beautiful! It was delicious and creamy but with a nice lemony zing to it and the raspberries and poppy seeds went amazingly well with it all.

Lemon & Raspberry Tart with Poppy Seed Pastry

 This is definitely up there amongst the favourites and I will definitely make it again. Not only is it scrumptious but it’s become very clear through making this that I need to practice making tart dough!

Caramelised Fruit (but no nuts) Tart

I’ve looked at the picture of these tarts in the Hummingbird Bakery recipe book for so long; I’ve even bought the tart tins in preparation of making it … but I’ve never gotten round to it.  Why? Well it’s a mixture of I’m terrified of anything pastry-related and it takes a long time to make.

So why make it now? Well I had a spare Sunday and I was determined to do at least one pastry dish by the end of the year – otherwise I’m just a baking pansy! So I went out and got all my ingredients together, poured myself a glass of wine (for some Dutch courage) and I was on my way.

The pastry was made by whisking together the butter and flour and adding the sugar and egg. Once this started to turn into a dough I kneaded the mix to ‘bring it together’.  Now I’ve watched a lot of Great British Bake Off and I know all about over-kneading pastry … I have no idea what constitutes over (or under) kneading. Hmmm … I made a not-so-educated guess, wrapped it in cling film and put it in the fridge for 30minutes.

A glass of wine and an episode of Friends later I brought out the dough, cut it in half, put one half back in the fridge and started to roll out the other half to line my pre-greased tart tins.  The recipe says to roll out the pastry to 5mm but I managed to roll it out too thin on my first two attempts.  I also found that the pastry ripped really quickly and have no idea whether it’s due to under (or over) working the dough.

Thankfully I started to get the hang of working with the dough and managed to line all eight tins, the last one being much more professionally done than the first!  These went back into the fridge for another 30 minutes before they were lined with greaseproof paper, covered in baking beads and cooked for 10 minutes in the oven.

The baking beads are then removed and the tarts went back in the oven for another 10 minutes to turn a light golden brown colour. Once these were out and cooling, I got started on the filling.

 

Reading this recipe again, I’ve realised that the title is ‘Caremalised Fruit AND Nut Tarts’.  Clearly in my eagerness to get underway, I completely missed the nut part of the recipe.  I had bought tons of dried fruit but no nuts! Ah well. I measured out all the drived fruit and chopped up the dried apricots so that it wouldn’t look too bulky.

On to the caramel – if you’ve ever made caramel before you’ll understand the incredible, almost-impossible-to-deny temptation to stir the sugar and water while it’s boiling.  It’s unbelievable how stir-able that mixture looks bubbling away. I measured the double cream and butter to stop myself stirring it and it still wasn’t enough to distract me. I literally stood there staring at the caramel praying it would turn golden brown before I gave into temptation.

It did (thankfully) and from watching the Great British Bake Off I learnt to dunk the bottom of the pot into cold water – this stops the caramel from continuing to cook after you’ve taken it off the heat and greatly reduces the chance of burning it.

After cooling for a little while the double cream and butter was stirred into the mixture and poured on top of the dried fruit.  Once this was all mixed together, the dried fruit was separated between tart tins and put in the fridge for an hour to set. There seemed to be a LOT of fruit in comparison to the amount of space in the tarts, but I stuck to the recipe and created nice ‘mounds’ of filling.

 

Just before serving, I whipped up some more double cream to go with the tarts and brought it out after dinner with some tea. They went down really well with the family, it’s a really rich dessert and would make a really nice end to a posh dinner party.

I, however, found it a bit too rich and too sweet. OK so I put 100% dried fruit in there instead of a mixture of fruit and nuts, but I think the outcome would have still been too rich for me.  The pastry was lovely (and there were no soggy bottoms or breaks!); I think I’ve finally faced my fear and I’m already planning to try out some more recipes. I’d actually love to try this recipe again but with sliced bananas instead of dried fruit, as I think this would be heavenly.

A 5 Minute Apple Tart Concoction

I was going to my lovely friends house yesterday (who has a brilliant food blog – check it out here) with the promise that she would make me something amazing and new. Essentially she was treating me like a test subject.   So, naturally, I thought it would only be fair that I bring her something baked.

So I looked in my cupboard/fridge and found some left over puff pastry.  Hmm… After a quick Internet search I found a great recipe that I altered to suit my needs (click here to get the original recipe).

Essentially all you do is place the pastry on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper (I only had foil).  Also I decided to roll out the pastry a little more to make enough for three good-sized portions of tart.

 

Then you core, half and thinly slice any apples of your choice – I used some royal gala apples – and put them in a bowl with a cup of sugar.  Err… a cup of sugar? This is a quick treat, not a heart attack!

So this is where I changed it up. I used a small measuring cup (200ml size) and filled it up to the 100ml line with dark brown sugar.  I also put in a pinch of salt and a pinch or two of cinnamon.

 

These go in the bowl with the apples and are stirred together till all the slices are covered.  I then placed these down the middle of the tart and into the oven for 10-15 minutes.

They tarts came out smelling delicious.  But I had a tiny problem when trying to get them off the baking tray.  Because I rolled the pastry out, it had become ridiculously thin and very hard to get off.  Basically they broke in half. Damn. And I’ve promised them a tart now.

 

What did I do? I gave these three to my dad to taste test and went to the supermarket and bought more pastry of course!  This time I didn’t do anything silly and managed to get all the proportions and measurements right.

I somehow managed to wrap it up and get it to my friend’s house without eating it on the way.  After a beautiful dinner of chicken and chorizo paella, I warmed up the tart served it hot.  It was delicious and definitely not something you could believe took 5 minutes to prepare.  If ever you have some puff pastry going spare, this is definitely a recipe I would suggest, and it’s something that can be adapted for any fruit you feel like using.

So here it is. My adapted recipe for a quick apple tart:

Ingredients:

1 pre rolled sheet of pastry

1 egg

4  medium sized apples

1 cup of dark brown sugar (I used a 200ml sized measuring cup)

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon salt

Icing sugar for dusting

 Method:

1.) Preheat oven to 170C.

2.) Dust both sides of your sheet of pastry with icing sugar and place it on greaseproof paper on your baking tray.

3.) Separate the egg white and brush the pastry with it.  Then fold each side to create a small border.

4.) Core, half and slice your apples.

5.) Mix your sugar, cinnamon and salt in a bowl and put in the sliced apples.  Stir this together till all the apples slices are covered.

6.) Place the apples in whatever pattern takes your fancy, I did it in a straight line.

7.) Place in the oven for 10-15minutes or until the pastry rises and is golden brown.

8.) Once out of the oven, dust with icing sugar and serve hot.