I’m really into hibernating right now. Maybe it’s the miserable weather, or maybe a few monstrously busy weeks at work is taking its toll. Either way when the weekend hits i’ve been trying not to leave the house unless absolutely necessary. This has lead to plenty of making and baking. Weekend baking is certainly one of my favourite pastimes and if it involves sweet things then all the better. I got a little carried away with my passion fruit curd making and found myself with a little left over. This recipe makes 4 small individual tarts, I used four 8cm tins but this recipe would also work in a larger 15cm round cake tin. The good news is that they freeze, so if you’re planning a meal for two you can pop the other two finished desserts into the freezer for a later date.
They look pretty fancy too, here’s what you will need…..
For the Pastry:
- 120g plain flour
- 60g butter
- 40g cater sugar
- 1 egg yolk
For the filling:
1 jar of passion fruit curd
For the Itallian meringue topping:
- 2 egg whites
- 120g caster sugar
- roughly 60 ml water
- a sugar thermometer
Begin by making the pastry. Using a handheld mixer or Kitchen aid with beater attachment cream together the butter and sugar until smooth, pale and the grain of the sugar is no longer visible. Add the egg yolk and blend to a smooth light batter. Scrape down the sides of the bowl during mixing if necessary. Add the flour, mix briefly so the mix comes together to a light smooth dough. Wrap the dough in cling film and place in the fridge for 25-30 minutes to relax. in the meantime pre-heat your oven to 160°C ready to blind bake the pastry
Once the pastry is cool roll the pastry out and line the tins. I like to roll my pastry out to a thickness of around 3mm, line the tins and cut off the excess pastry. Place some silicone paper into the lined tins then pour in baking beans to fill the tart cases. You need enough beans to fill the entire case so the pastry is held in place, this will prevent the pastry from shrinking. For little tarts I like to use paper cupcake cases to line the tin, I use dried chickpeas rather than ceramic baking beans, they are a little cheaper and work just as well, you can re-use them quite a few times also.
Bake the little cases for 25-30 minutes until they are a light golden brown in colour then allow to cool completely before removing the beans.
If you have any pastry left over pop it in the freezer and it will keep for up to 3 months.
For the Italian meringue begin by placing the sugar into a saucepan then slowly pour in the water so the sugar is just covered. Place the thermometer into the pan and heat the sugar so it comes to a rolling boil. Meanwhile separate the eggs, place the whites into the bowl of an electric mixer or into a mixing bowl with a hand held mixer. The yolks can be kept in the fridge for up to 2-3 days, depending on the age of the egg. Save them to make a creme brûlée or custard based pudding at a later date. Whisk the egg whites to a soft peak whilst the sugar comes up to temperature. Heat the sugar to a temperature of 116-118°C – soft ball. Re-whisk the egg whites, this time to a stiff peak, slowly pour the sugar mixture in a steady stream down the side of the bowl into the egg mixture. Once all the sugar is added continue to whip the mixture until it is cool. The meringue should be a soft, billowy marshmallow consistency.
Set the meringue aside whilst assembling the tarts.
Spoon the passion fruit curd into the pastry cases so they are around 3/4 full. Pipe or spoon over the meringue mixture so the passionfruit curd is completely covered. Toast the meringue with a blow torch or under a hot grill for a couple of minutes, allow to cool and the pies are ready to serve.
What have you been baking recently?