Monday, December 30, 2013

Tarty goodness

I do love a bit of tart.  Here are some I made the other day.

@ home, with love / by Julie Le Clerc (2004)
Auckland: Penguin Books

Burnt Sugar Tarts (Creme Brûlée Tarts)

Sweet Pastry
1/2 cup caster sugar
200g butter, softened
1 egg
2 cups plain flour
Pinch salt

1. Place sugar, butter and egg in a bowl and beat to just combined. Stir in flour, salt to form dough. Turn out onto a floured board and knead lightly to bring together. (Note: I cut the butter through the flour in the food processor and then add the remaining ingredients and pulse the processor until the dough starts to form together, then I finish it off by hand).
2. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 mins before using as recipe following directs.

Vanilla Custard
1 vanilla bean ( I used a good teaspoon of vanilla paste)
1 cup cream
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons caster sugar
3 egg yolks
Demerara sugar to brûlée 

1. Roll out pastry to 3mm thick and use to line 6 10cm individual tart tins. Prick base with a fork and chill for 30mins.
2. Preheat oven to 190 degrees C. Line pastry with baking paper and fill with baking beans/weights - bake blind for 10 mins. Remove paper and weights and return cases to oven for 5 mins to dry out.  Decrease oven temperature to 140 degrees C.
3. If using the vanilla bean, cut in half lengthways and scrape out seeds. Combine with cream and milk in a saucepan. Bring to boil then remove from heat for 10 mins for vanilla to infuse. (if you use paste like me, just add it to the milk and cream and bring to the boil.)
4. In a bowl beat caster sugar and yolks together until pale. Strain cream mixture and pour onto yolks, then whisk to combine.
5. Return mixture to a clean saucepan. Cook over a gentle heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon. Don't let it boil or it will curdle. Pour mixture into pastry cases. Bake 15 mins or until custard is just set. Remove to cool.
6. Just before serving, dust top of custard with Demerara sugar. Caramelise with a brûlée torch of quickly under a grill. (Personally I think caster sugar is a better option).

Salted caramel tarts
(I used the same pastry and method as above to make these).

The salted caramel recipe I got from one of the cooking blogs I read and I neglected to write down in my cookbook which one. So I do apologize - if this looks familiar to someone, I am more than happy to link directly to your blog if you let me know! It must have been a US one because it uses the term "stick" of butter.

250g sugar
80ml water
115g salted butter 
150ml heavy cream

In a heavy saucepan, over low heat, combine sugar and water. Cook until sugar is dissolved. Add butter. Let it come to a boil and cook until it reaches a golden caramel color. Remove from heat. Add cream - be careful because it will spit - whisk to combine and put back on stove. Let it come to the boil again and cook 25-35 mins until you reach a creamy consistency. (Note: I wanted a sauce consistency and took it off the heat sooner than 25 mins. Even so, it was really too far gone along the road to hardening off for sauce. Great for soft caramels though).

For the tarts I spooned in the caramel to the tart cases and then cooked them briefly (about 5-10 mins) until it seemed like a good time to take them out - I used mini tart cases to it didn't take long. I then broke a piece of chocolate into the hot caramel and sprinkled a few salt grains on it.

You will have plenty of left over caramel. I don't see this as a problem...

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