Thursday, 29 December 2011

Mini bakewell tarts

And so, to my favourite bake of the last week - mini bakewell tarts. Essentially, these were the product of some left over shortcrust pastry from the banoffee pie, jam and royal icing from the Christmas cake and ground almonds from the lebkuchen! So, my recipe was a bit of a mishmash of various others, and probably not the easiest way to make them. But they worked really rather well, so here it is anyway:

Katie's mini bakewell tarts

First of all, grease up a deep 12-hole muffin pan and get your oven on to 170 degrees.

For the rich shortcrust pastry (enough to make about 12 tarts - or 6 tarts plus a banoffee pie case):

- 125g butter
- 100g icing sugar
- 250g plain flour
- Half a vanilla pod
- 1tsp lemon juice
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tbsp cold milk

Using a food processor (or a serious amount of elbow grease), cream the sugar into the butter until white and fluffy, then quickly mix in the flour, lemon juice, egg yolks and seeds from the vanilla pod - do this with as little mixing as possible to keep the pastry light and stretchy. Once this has all mixed together, add the milk and gather together into a ball. Put in the fridge for half an hour to firm up a bit.

Once it's a little less sticky, roll out the pastry on a floured surface, then cut small circles using a pastry cutter, to be the same size as the bases of your muffin tin. Drop these into the greased tin and then cut long strips, about an inch wide, to form the sides of each pastry case. Make sure that you've pressed the sides right into the base so that there are no gaps - use a bit of extra pastry to fill any holes, before scraping a pallette knife across the top of the tin to neaten up the tops of the cases.

Prick the bottom of each case with a fork, then spread about half a tsp of raspberry jam into the bottom of each case.

For the frangipane (enough for 12 tarts):

110g butter
110g caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
80g ground almonds
2 tbsp plain flour

Mix it all up in a bowl (nothing special about this part of the recipe) then divide it evenly between the pastry cases (on top of the jam). They won't be full to the top - the frangipane will rise during cooking, plus you need to leave some space for icing!

Bake in the oven for around 25 minutes, or until the frangipane has started to turn golden brown. Cool in the tin first, then put the tarts on a wire rack to finish cooling once the pastry's hardened a little. Fingers crossed for no soggy bottoms!

Once the tarts have cooled, ice in whatever way you like - I used some leftover royal icing from the Christmas cake, but a bit of icing sugar and water is just as good - keep it nice and thick for either piping on or just spreading a layer over the whole tart. Finish with a silver ball, or a glace cherry, or whatever you fancy!

Eat with lots of cream. Mmmm.

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