In light of the new-found pastry confidence we’re going to attempt to bring you a mini tart recipe every Tuesday because, if you’re anything like us, you’ll understand the need for a tasty treat while watching Great British Bake Off. So after work tonight Bird knocked up a batch of sweet shortcrust pastry using the recipe below which is taken from a Jamie Oliver recipe. This will make far too much for two little tart cases so we will be freezing it in mini tart case sized portions and then defrosting it on a Monday every week ready to fill and bake on a Tuesday! For tonight’s Tart Tuesday the filling is frangipane and fresh nectarine. We have some nectarines which are on the turn (ooh-err!) and thought they would be perfect nestled in a bed of almond-y goodness.
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
- 250g plain flour
- 50g icing sugar
- 125g cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 egg, beaten
- a splash of milk
Sift the flour and the icing sugar together into a large bowl, and then rub the butter in until the mixture is pale gold with a fine breadcrumb texture. Throw in the beaten egg and 1-2 tsp of milk and start to bring together, adding more milk if needed until it just comes together. Make sure not to add too much milk at the beginning because it barely needs any and you can always add but you can’t take away. Bring it together with the minimal work required so it doesn’t become tough and then wrap the ball of dough in cling film and put it in the fridge for at least half an hour before you want to use it.
From this point on you can do what you like, this is the point you would freeze it, you could use it to make a large tart, a medium pie, or as we’re going to – mini tarts. We divided the pastry into 4 and froze 3 of these. Just remember to blind bake it first to avoid the dreaded soggy bottom!
Frangipane Filling (this makes a bit too much for 2 mini tarts, but who can be bothered splitting eggs? I’m sure you’ll find some other clever use for it)
- 65g unsalted butter
- 65g caster sugar
- 1 egg
- 65g ground almonds
- 1/2 tbsp plain flour
Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add the egg and beat well until it becomes smooth and pale. Using a metal spoon fold in the ground almonds and flour, mix well and it’s ready to use, or you can refrigerate it until you need it.
So, to put these beauties together, roll out the pastry to around 0.5 cm thick and place in a greased tart case. Place this in the fridge for at least 10 minutes before baking. Prick the base with a fork and then blind bake them in an oven preheated to 190°C for 10 minutes, remove the baking beans and allow to colour in the oven for a further two minutes. Scoop in lots of the gorgeous frangipane mixture, try and spread it out but don’t worry – it will even as it bakes. Top with some slices of fruit. We used nectarines as we had them in, but some other lovely options would be peach, apricot, fig (very seasonal), pear – basically any soft fruit you can think of! Drizzle with a little honey, these tarts are very sweet but they’re dinky so it doesn’t get too sickly. If you were serving them at a dinner party rather than sat in front of the tv like us then a dollop of crème fraîche would be perfect.
Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until fluffed up and golden on top. Leave to cool in their cases for as long as you can bear and then release them and tuck in, preferably when they’re still slightly warm!
We absolutely loved these, they were sweet and soft inside with a really crisp pastry shell and then a burst of fresh flavour from the nectarines. We’ll get thinking about next week’s flavour… maybe lemon tarts? Or pear and chocolate? Any suggestions will be gratefully received!