Sunday 3 July 2011

Strawberry and Chocolate Tarts

Since I bought the Michel Roux "Pastry" book, I've wanted to have a go at some of the fruit tart suggestions, especially the cute little ones that are easy to share about.  I'd made a full sized Strawberry Tart from the book before, and wanted to try a variation, adding chocolate to the Crème Pâtissière, and putting them all in mini pastries.  

I bought a bulk load of cheapish 5.1cm Tartlet Tins, then later bought a second bulk lot once I released that they also make far more convenient liners when blind baking.  So if you're thinking about buying lots of small tartlet tins for pastry usage, buy double the amount that you think you'll need at once, so that you can easily line them all.  You can get away without lining them, or you 'could'  line them with baking parchment and baking beans (not something I'm ever going to do when they're that small and making so many, just washing them up is bad enough).

For about 60 or so 5-6cm Pastry Cases

Recipe for the Pâte Sucrée

  • 250g Plain Flour
  • 100g Icing Sugar, sifted
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 100g Butter, cubed
  • 2 Large Eggs

Mix together the Flour, Icing Sugar and Salt, then blend with the Eggs and Butter, for me, idealising using a Pastry Blender.  Knead it couple of times to get a nice ball of dough, then divide into two, flatten into a couple of inch-thick patties, cover in cling film, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Once chilled, preheat your oven to 180°C, grease your tartlet tins, then remove a patty from the fridge and roll out until about 2-3mm thick.  Then out your pastry for the cases using a 7cm Pastry Cutter.  Chill in the fridge for another 20 minutes, then prick with a small fork, and line each one with an empty tin.  Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, then remove the liners, and bake for a further 5 minutes.  

Leave to cool in the tins for a few minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.  Once completely cool, store in a cake tin until needed.

Repeat until you've used all the pastry.

Recipe for the Chocolate Crème Pâtissière filling

  • 4 Large Egg Yolks
  • 85g Caster Sugar
  • 25g Plain Flour
  • 330ml Milk
  • 1 Vanilla Pod
  • 50g Dark Chocolate, chopped into chips
  • Icing Sugar for dusting
  • 400g Strawberries, hulled and halved

Whisk together the Egg Yolks and a third of the Caster Sugar until you get a ribbon consistency, then whisk in the Flour.  While you're doing this, bring the Milk to the boil in a pan, along with the rest of the Sugar, and the Vanilla Pod, split lengthways.

When the Milk comes to the Boil, carefully pour into the Egg Yolks, whisking continuously, then return the mixture to the pan, and continue stirring until thickened.  Pour back into a bowl, add in the Chocolate Chips and stir until completely melted and mixed.  Dust the top with Icing Sugar, and leave to cool completely before refrigerating.

The Pastry and the Crème Pâtissière and be made in advance, but you really want to avoid putting them together until just before you plan to serve them, to avoid the pastry going soggy.  Put about a teaspoon or so of Crème Pâtissière into each pastry case, then top with a few Strawberry Halves.  Finally, you could dust with a little more Icing Sugar. 

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