Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tartlets - Dark Chocolate vs. Banana and Hazelnut

There was still sweet pastry left from this baking session. You can easily freeze sweet pastry, so you can make a big amount of it at once and keep any leftovers for another time. Ever since I started making shortcrust myself, I don't really like the store-bought pastry anymore. Last weekend was all about Ottolenghi tartlets. I still can't make up my mind which filling I like better... chocolate or banana-hazelnut... both extremely delicious...

Pre-baked Tartlet Cases

The recipe for the sweet pastry is the same as in this post.

330g plain flour
100g icing sugar
grated zest of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt
180g cold butter, cut into small cubes
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons cold water

Put the flour, icing sugar, lemon zest and salt in a bowl and add the butter. Rub it in with your hands (or do it with a mixer or food processor). Mix until you get a coarse breadcrumb consistency, make sure that there are no large lumps of butter left.

Add the egg yolk and water and mix just until the dough comes together. Don't mix longer than necessary. Maybe you need a tiny amount of extra water.

Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and knead lightly for a few seconds only. Shape it into a smooth disc (5-6cm thick). Wrap in cling film and chill until ready to use. The pastry keeps in the fridge for about a week and at least a month in the freezer.

Grease you tartlet tins with butter. Since I don't really have tartlet tins, I used aluminium tins that I bought at our grocery store Migros, these are of about 10cm diameter. I imagine you could try and use a muffin tin.

Roll out your dough (2-3mm thick) and cut out circles with a pastry cutter or the rim of a bowl. Line your tartlet cases with the dough and put them in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 150°C. Line each pastry case with a circle of parchment paper and full up with rice or dry beans. Place in the oven and bake blind for about 20 - 25 minutes. They should take a golden-brown color. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.


Banana and Hazelnut (for 6 pre-baked tartlet cases)

45g unskinned hazelnuts (or you can just use store-bought ground hazelnuts)
90g butter
100g icing sugar
40g plain flour
2 egg whites
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
50g mashed banana
2 tsp lemon juice
6 pre-baked tartlet cases

Heat the oven to 150°C. Scatter the hazelnuts in an oven tray and roast for twelve minutes. Remove and let cool down.

While you wait for the nuts, make some burnt butter. Put the butter in a medium pan and cook over moderate heat. After a few minutes, it should start to darken and smell nutty. Take off the heat and leave to cool slightly.

Set aside 10g of the nuts. Put the rest in a food processor, together with 70g of the icing sugar. Work to a fine powder, then add the flour. Pulse together to mix. Add the egg whites and work the machine very briefly, just to mix them in. Repeat with the vanilla and the butter. It is important to stop the machine as soon as the ingredients are incorporated.

Mix the mashed banana with the lemon juice and the remaining icing sugar. Spoon about two teaspoons of this mixture into each pre-baked tart case. Top with the hazelnut batter. It should come to within 2-3mm of the top. Place in the oven and bake for 20-22 minutes, until the hazelnut filling is completely set. You can check this with a skewer. Remove the tarts from the oven and cool slightly, then remove from the tins.

You can brush these with heated apricot jam, decorate them with chocolate glaze, top it with crushed hazelnuts or dust them with icing sugar... whatever you feel like.

Dark Chococlate (for 6 pre-baked tartlet cases)

150g dark chocolate
100g unsalted butter, diced
1 egg
1 egg-yolk
30g sugar
60g raspberry jam (we used apricot jam), optional
6 pre-baked tartlet cases
cocoa powder for dusting

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Put the chocolate and butter in a bowl, set it over a pan of simmering water and leave to melt. Whisk the egg and yolk with the sugar until thick and pale yellow, then fold this into the melted chocolate.

If you use them jam, put a spoonful in the base of each tartlet case. Fill them up with the chocolate mix; it should reach right up to the rim. Place in the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Cool a little, then remove the tartlets from their tins and allow them to cool down completely (if you can...).

Lightly dust with cocoa powder and serve at room temperature.

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