Cherry Tartlets

CHERRY SEASON!

Each year around this time there is a festival in Ficksburg that dedicates itself to the marvels of Cherries and their many uses.  I drew inspiration from the excitement that is surrounding this Festival and all of its promotions.  I decided to do a very easy Cherry Tartlet for this month and it is delicious, doesn’t take up your time and deems as an alternative Christmas desserts for those not-so-conventional Christmas followers.Cherry Tartlet

THE RECIPE:

Cherry Tartlets.

INGREDIENTS:

Serves four

The Pastry:

  • 142g Cake flour
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 112g unsalted softened Butter
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • 55g sieved Icing Sugar
  • 5ml of Vanilla Essence

The filling:

This pastry is called Mousseline Pastry Cream or otherwise known as Crème Patisserie

  • 60g Cake flour
  • 180g Granulated White Sugar
  • 500ml Milk
  • 120g Egg Yolks
  • 1 Vanilla Pod
  • 30g unsalted Butter

The Cherries:

  • 1 Punnet fresh Cherries
  • 1 tablespoon Apricot Jam
  • 50ml Water

HOW TO:

The Pastry:

  • Sift the Flour and Salt into a bowl.
  • Cream the butter and Icing sugar together till smooth and lump free.
  • Add in the Egg Yolks one at a time whilst beating.
  • Remove the Butter and Egg Mixture from the bowl and transfer to another.
  • Add in the Flour.
  • Using a Palette Knife, chop the butter and flour together until it transforms itself into a bread crumb consistency.  If you do not have a Palette Knife, you can use your fingertips to create the same effect.
  • Once your pastry has taken on a crumby consistency, bring the pastry together and kneed very slightly.  You want the pastry to turn into rough dough that keeps its shape.
  • Once combined cover the pastry and rest it in the fridge for 30 minutes.

The Filling:

  • Sift the Flour and the Sugar together
  • Whisk 125ml of the Milk with the Egg Yolks, then slowly add the flour continuously whisking until a smooth paste is made
  • Heat the remaining Milk with the Vanilla Pod and slowly add it to the Flour and Egg paste
  • Return to the Heat and stir CONTINUOUSLY until it becomes thick – very thick
  • Allow the flour to cook out
  • Remove from the pot and place in a container, cover the Crème Pat with plastic wrap placing it directly onto the surface.  This helps to prevent a skin from forming.Two cherries
  • Place in the fridge and allow to cool.

The Cherries:

  • Remove the Pips by using an Olive Pitter or you can cut the Cherries down the length and use the tip of the Knife to remove the pips cleanly.
  • Place the Apricot Jam and Water in a pot and bring to the boil.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool.  Once the “Glaze” has cooled place the Cherries inside the pot and stir to coat each Cherry thoroughly.
  • Pre heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  • While the Pastry is resting in the fridge start with the Crème Pat and remove the Pips from the Cherries.
  • Remove the pastry from the fridge and place on your working surface, allowing it to warm up to room temperature.
  • Spray your tart case with a non-stick product such as Spray and Cook.
  • Take out your Rolling pin and Flan tart cases. If you don’t have small tart flans then you can use a standard size one. 24cm.  Dusting your work surface with a bit of flour, place the dough on top of the flour and start rolling out the dough.  Remember to keep flouring your surface and over your pastry so that it does not stick.  Roll the dough out to about a 3mm thickness.  Placing your Rolling Pin at the top of the pastry, fold the lip of the pastry over the rolling pin and slowly roll towards you, being careful not to push down as this will stick the folds together. Place your rolling pin at the top of the pastry case and roll the Pastry towards you. This will allow the pastry to fall evenly over the case.  It makes it easier to press down and prevent any extra tearing.  The more you patch the more chances of a cracked pastry; this technique will help you to produce a smoother and solid pastry base.
  • Once your pastry is prepared, use Grease-proof Paper and place firmly inside the case on top of the pastry.  Fill the paper with Rice or baking Beans.  Pat the Rice/Beans down so that it covers the entire surface.
  • The reason we do this is to prevent the Pastry from puffing up and creating an uneven surface.
  • Blind bake the pastry.  This means that you pre bake your pastry until it is nice and golden brown.  This takes about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Once your pastry is cooked, remove the paper and place the tart case on a wire rack allowing it to cool down completely.
  • Once your pastry is cooled, take the Crème Pat from the fridge and pipe the mixture in a circular motion into the base until it is completely covered, leaving a centimetre open at the top. If you do not have a piping bag you can either make your own by making a cone from Grease proof paper and cutting of the tip or you can spoon the mixture into the case and slowly with a spatula smooth out the surface.
  • Take the Cherries and pack tight together following around and around until the Tart is completely covered in Cherries.  Use the remaining sauce and with a pastry brush lightly brush the top of the Cherries to create and extra glossiness.
  • Allow the Glaze to settle and once the Cherries are slightly sticky your fabulous Cherrie Tart is ready for eating!

CHEFS TIPS:

  • If you don’t have the time to make your own Pastry Base you can buy one from your local supermarket.  Most shops sell pre prepared pastry cases in various sizes.
  • If you struggle to find fresh Cherries you can use tinned Cherries instead.
  • If you find that the Crème Pat has created a bit of skin on top, you can remove it by using a spoon.  It won’t affect the rest of the Pastry Cream.
  • The Pastry Cream can be used to make any fruit tart that you choose, be it Raspberries, Strawberries, Mulberries, Peaches, Apricots, which ever suits your flavour of the month.

COMPLIMENTS:

  • This tart is so easy and so versatile you can literally eat it with anything.
  • As an accompaniment, I recommend Mascarpone Cream as the slightly tangy Cream Cheese will cut through the sweetness of the tart.
  • Vanilla Pod Ice Cream will also work really well with this tart; the richness will compliment the tart beautifully.
  • If you’re a chocolate lover, you can serve a slice of this tart with a spoonful of Chocolate Mousse.
  • If this Tart becomes a piece to your culinary extraordinaire then you can cover the top with Chocolate Shavings or Chocolate Curls.
  • This tart is a perfect dessert for a Christmas Lunch or Dinner, it’s not over the top, doesn’t take up your time and everyone in the family will love it!

This dish is as versatile as your imagination.  It’s simple, luscious and brand new.  Have fun with it and remember to enjoy every moment just like every bite you take!

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