Baking, Something fruity, Something sweet, Tarts

Rustic apple & pecan tart

This is an autumnal variation on my rustic peach tart the pastry is made in the same way. For the filling I put a good handful of sultans in a large mixing bowl with about 4 tbsp. maple syrup to this I added about 5 or 6 freshly ground cloves and mixed them together and left to stand while I made my pastry. While the pastry was in the oven I pre-heated the oven with my pizza stone in it and peeled, cored and sliced 4 eating apples. I kept the apples in a bowl of water with lemon juice in it to stop them browning. Once my oven was hot I rolled out my pastry. I drained the apples and dried them in a clean tea towel and mixed them and a good handful of pecan nuts in with the sultanas and coated them all in the maple syrup. Then I put the pastry on the pizza stone and spread the apple mixture in the middle of it and quickly folded up the edges and put an egg and milk glaze on the crust. I then sprinkled over a tbsp. of brown sugar and baked the tart for 45 minutes until the pastry was golden brown. Serve warm with thick cream or vanilla ice cream

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Baking, Tarts, Veggie mains

Rustic roasted vegetable tart

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This makes a delicious meal with a salad and is a lot easier than a quiche and is packed with lots of veggies. Serve with a green salad, it’s great for a picnic too. This will serve 4 people as a main meal.

So what do you need?

  • 120g plain (all purpose) flour
  • 80g whole meal flour
  • 100g salted butter
  • 1 free-range egg
  • 2 tbsp. milk
  • 2 tbsp. sesame seeds
  •  1 tbsp.chia seeds
  • 1kg of veggies (e.g. courgettes, mushrooms, peppers, onions, cherry tomatoes)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper corns
  • 2 chillies (optional)
  • 100g goats’ cheese
  • a few sprigs or oregano

So what do you do?

Start by pre-heating your oven to 200 degrees C / 400 F, if you have a pizza stone put it in the oven to heat up. Next make the pastry. In a food processor, or a bowl, mix together the flour and butter and then add the sesame seeds and chia seeds. Beat the egg and the milk together and put about 80% of it in the pastry and mix it together until it forms a nice ball. Flatten it into a disc and put it in a plastic bag and put it in the fried to rest.

Now chop up your vegetables and put them in a large roasting tin. Crush the garlic with the slat and about 1/2 tsp. of peppercorns and the chillies then add these along with the olive oil and bay leaves into the roasting tin and mix everything together. Put in the oven and cook for 40 minutes turning the veggies a couple of times. You don’t want them completely cooked as they will cook more in the tart.

When the veggies have been in the oven half an hour take you pastry out of the fridge for about 5 minutes and then roll it out to about 35 – 40 cms in diameter. Put it on your pizza stone or a baking tray. Mix some oregano leaves into your roasted veg, remove the bay leaves and then spread the veggies onto the pastry, leaving about 6 cms around the side. Next fold the sides of the pastry up over the veggies to form a crust, don’t worry about making it perfect this is rustic tart! Glaze the pastry crust with the remaining egg mixture. Then cut the goats’ cheese into discs and put them on top of the veggies and grind some pepper on top. Put the tart back in the oven. After about 15 mins reduce the heat to 180 degrees C / 350 F and cook for another 15-20 mins. until the pastry and the cheese are golden brown. Take the tart out of the oven and allow to cool for 15 mins before serving.

 

 

 

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Baking, Something sweet, Tarts

Treacle tart

This is a classic English pudding. It’s not something you’d want to eat too often but as a special treat you once in a while. I made this for my dad who has a sweet tooth and loves traditional pies and puddings.

So what do you need?

  • 350-400g shortcrust pastry
  • 450g golden syrup
  • 60g butter
  • a good pinch of salt
  • a lemon
  • 1tbsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 3tbsp. cream
  • 130g fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 1 free-range egg
  • 1 tbsp. milk

So what do you do?

Pre-heat your oven to 175degrees C / 350 F. Then out your pastry and line a greased flan dish about 25cms across and put it in the fridge. Also put keep any leftover pastry trimmings and roll them into a ball and put them in the fridge. Once the oven is hot blind bake the pastry case for about 15 mins. then take it out and turn the oven down to 160 degrees C /  320 F. Next beat your egg and add a tbsp. milk and paint the pastry case with it and pop it back in the oven for a couple of minutes. And the allow it to cool down. In a saucepan melt the syrup, salt and the butter over a low heat and add the ginger, the grated zest of the lemon, and the juice from half the lemon. Once this is runny add the cream and stir in the breadcrumbs. I also added most of the egg mix to this too, reserving about a tablespoon to glaze my pastry lattices. Then roll out the extra pastry and cut it into strips about a cm wide. Put the filling in the tart case and then lay the pastry strips over the top to form a lattice effect. Glaze the pastry strips with the remaining egg wash and put the tart with n the oven for about 35-40 minutes until the top is golden brown. Serve warm with custard, cream or vanilla ice cream.

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Baking, Something fruity, Something sweet, Tarts

Lemon / lime cheese tart

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This makes a beautiful dessert. It’s a tart tart with, nice and lemony but also creamy. It can be made with a lemon or a couple of limes depending what you have available.

So what do you need?

For the pastry

  • 250g sifted plain (all purpose) flour
  • 1tbsp icing sugar
  • 125g unsalted butter
  • pinch salt
  • the yolk of a free range egg
  • a few tbsp cold water

For the filling

  • 75g caster sugar
  • 1 lemon / 2 limes
  • 350g cream cheese
  • 1 egg and the yolks of 3 more free range eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence

So what do you do?

Start by making the pastry. I put the butter, salt, sugar and flour in my food processor and blended it together to form breadcrumbs then I added the egg yolk and blended again it should start to come together but may need a tbsp. or two of cold water to come together into a ball. Then put this in a plastic bag / cling film and allow to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. Then grease a 23/24cm loose leaf tart tin. Take the pastry out of the fridge and allow if to come to soften for a few minutes and then roll it out so that it will cover your tart tin. Line the tart tin with the pastry, prick the bottom of the pastry in a few places with a fork, and put it in the fridge for about 10 mins while your oven heats up to 200 degrees F / 400C. Then cover the pastry with foil pushed down into the tin and fill it with dried beans, this will stop the pastry rising, and blind bake it in the oven for 10 mins. then remove the lining and put back in the oven to dry out. You can then ‘paint’ the pastry case with egg white and put it back in the oven for about 3 mins to seal it. Then take the pastry case out of the oven.

While you are blind baking the pastry  you can make the filling. Put the sugar and the grated zest of the lemon or limes in your food processor (or a bowl) and blend together until the zest dissolves and the sugar becomes damp. Then add the vanilla essence and the juice of the lemon / limes and mix together. Next add cream cheese and eggs and mix everything together to a smooth batter and then pout this into the pastry case  and put it back in the oven to bake for about 25 minutes until set and golden on top. Keep an eye on it as a couple of minutes can make the difference from golden to burnt. Allow to cool and serve with a dusting of icing sugar.

This is from a recipe in

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Baking, Tarts, Veggie mains

Beetroot & goat’s cheese tart

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This is a beautiful and delicious tart and makes a great centerpiece for a summer meal. As with my beetroot and nut wellington the combination of beetroot and goat’s cheese works really well here. I based this tart on a recipe by Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstall on The Guardian website.

So what do you need?

  • 200g plain flour
  • 100g butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2tbsp of sesame seeds
  • a free-range egg
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 3 red onions, halved and finely sliced
  • 150ml red wine
  • 2 tbsp sherry / cider vinegar
  • 2 tbs tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp dried thyme (or a tbsp of fresh)
  • 7-800g small beetroot, roasted (for about an hour), peeled and cut into wedges
  • a couple of sprigs of dill, chopped
  • 200g goat’s cheese log
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Start by roasting your beetroots in a hot oven 200 degree F / 400F for about an hour, until the they have become a little soft. Also make your pastry, I put the flour salt and butter in a food processer and blended them until they were breadcrumbs then added the egg and sesame seeds and blended again to make a pastry dough. I then put this in a plastic bag and let it rest in the fridge for an hour. Then roll it out to fill a greased 24 cm loose bottomed flan tin and allow to rest in the fridge for 20 mins then blind bake.

For the filling fry the onions in the butter until they soften then add the  wine, vinegar, honey, thyme and season with salt and pepper and simmer until most of the liquid has reduced. Then add the beetroot wedges and the dill.

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Put the filling in the pastry case and cut the goat’s cheese into 8 slices and arrange on top of the beetroot mixture and put in the oven for 25-30 mins until the cheese is melting and golden. allow to cool for about 10 mins then remove from the flan tin, serve warm garnished with some more dill. I served this with a potato salad, also with dill in it, and a green salad.

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Tarts, Veggie mains

Filo pastry tarts with red onions, broccoli, goat’s cheese and stilton

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These make a very nice light lunch served with a salad. This recipe makes 4 individual tarts.

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C / 400 F.

So what do you need?

100 g broccoli

1 sliced red onion

3 cloves of garlic

2 free range eggs

100 ml of cream

80 g of cheese I used a mix of goat’s cheese and stilton (you can use whatever cheeses you have /like)

1 tsp of Dijon mustard

Some chopped chives

6 sheets of filo pastry

30 g melted butter

So what do you do?

Chop the broccoli into small pieces and cook it for a couple of minutes in some boiling water and then drain it. Slice the onions finely and fry them in some olive oil as they begin to soften add the chopped garlic and fry for a couple of minutes until the garlic and onions start to brown. In a jug crack the eggs and beat them, add the cream, crumbled cheese, chopped chives and Dijon mustard. Season the mixture with salt and pepper and add the broccoli and onions and mix everything together.

Cut the filo pastry sheets into quarters. Brush one quarter with melted butter and then put another quarter on top, angled to create a star and then add another 4 sheets buttering each and angling the corners to create a stack. Do this to make four stacks.

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Grease four holes in a muffin tin with melted butter and put a filo stack in each and press it down into the muffin tin and then pour the cheese and veg mixture evenly into the four cases and put them into the oven for 15 to 20 minutes until the filo pastry is golden and the filling has set. Serve with a green salad and some sautéed potatoes or ‘oven’ chips.

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Baking, Something sweet, Tarts

A sweet tart

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This is what I made as a dessert for a friend’s dinner party earlier this week. I offered to make dessert and wanted to make something different, try something new. I had been given some pecan nuts by a neighbour at Xmas so thought about what I could make with them and remembered a recipe in a book that my partner Tom gave me a few years ago. He swears he didn’t have any ill intentions when he gave me the book – some things get lost in translation in our house!

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Anyway I adapted their recipe, using their pastry recipe, with one I found on the BBC Good Food website here http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/75608/chocolate-and-pecan-tart

I made my pastry from scratch a sweet, rich shortcrust pastry with egg yolks and icing sugar. I  put extra chocolate in the filling as I had less pecans than the recipe called for (I only had 100 grams) and my tart tin is bigger than the one in the recipe (mine’s 25cms)  so I increased the chocolate to about 240 grams. Other than that I basically followed the BBC recipe for the filling. The maple syrup works really well in this tart as it’s not too sweet.

I decided to serve it with a strawberry compote, lightly stewed strawberries with a little sugar and lime juice, you could use fresh strawberries or raspberries but I liked the idea of having some juice. I also decided to try to make thickened cream. Here in Thailand we basically only get whipping cream and whipped cream would have been fine but I wanted to try something new and remembered reading about how to make mascarpone.

Basically you heat up whipping cream in a bowl over boiling water and just before it boils you add a couple of teaspoons of lemon / lime juice and it magically thickens. You let this cool then stain it through muslin / cheese cloth and the whey comes out leaving thickened cream, if you leave it for 24 hours you have mascarpone. I only left mine for about three hours (as that’s all the time I had after getting the idea) but it produced a thick cream that formed a slight peak when you spooned a dollop onto the plate. When heating the cream I added a little sugar and vanilla essence so this thickened cream / loose mascarpone went really well with the tart and strawberries. Everyone enjoyed it and I’m afraid that we were too busy eating to take photos of the plated up version so you’ll have to make it yourself to get the full effect. It’s worth the effort I assure you!

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