Friday, 14 August 2015

Tarts

Here are some tart recipes I posted on my previous blog from January 2010 till February 2015.

Chocolate Tart

A delicious Christmas cake
I know there are hundreds of traditional, gorgeous Christmas cakes, but this one is such a delicious treat, ideal for cold winter days and a guaranteed success as everybody loves chocolate.
We usually spend Christmas in Italy with grandparents but I always have a Christmas dinner before leaving with candles, crackers, little presents for everybody and a special cake.
You can buy ready-made short crust pastry, or make it with 250 g of flour, 100 g of sugar, 50 g of butter, 2 eggs and 1 tsp of baking powder.  Rub in the  ingredients, in a bowl, and knead the dough for about ten minutes, then wrap it in a tea towel and keep it in the fridge for half an hour.
For the filling you need: 50 g of flour, 4 tbsp of milk, 2 eggs, 300 ml of thick double cream, 4 tbsp of sugar, 100 g dark chocolate, 100 g milk chocolate and 100g nuts.
Grind the dark and milk chocolate and the nuts in a blender, add all the other ingredients and mix.
Roll out the dough and place it in a round greased tin.  Pour the mixture on the short crust pastry and bake for half an hour at 150° C.  When it is cold, sprinkle the tart with half a tbsp of cocoa powder and half a tbsp of icing sugar.

Decorate with holly, sugar stars or a special Christmas decoration such as poinsettias.

Ricotta and cinnamon tart

Here is a tart (in Italian crostata, a tart with stripes of dough on the top. The classic one is filled with jam) ideal for Easter time, as it has ricotta in the filling. Also three alternatives good for all occasions.
For the pastry you need: two eggs, 100 g of sugar, 250 g of flour, one tsp of baking powder and 50 g of melted butter.
Mix the ingredients and knead the dough lightly. Let it chill in the fridge for about half an hour wrapped in a cloth.

For the filling you need: 500 g of ricotta, 100 g of sugar, two egg yolks and one tsp of cinnamon.
Mix the filling ingredients together well. Roll out the dough and line a greased 12 inch round  tart tin with it. Then pour on the filling and spread it. Roll out the remaining dough and cut strips using a cutting wheel. Lay the strips criss-cross over the filling, three across and three   down (see picture). Bake for half an hour at 150° C. When ready sprinkle with icing sugar or a mixture of sugar and cinnamon.
Alternative fillings:
1)      500 g of ricotta, 100 g of raisins (soaked in warm water for half an hour then squeezed), grated zest of an orange, 50 g of pine nuts, 100 g of sugar, 2 egg yolks and one tbsp of liqueur.
2)      500 g of ricotta, grated zest of two lemons, 50 ml of lemon juice, 2 egg yolks and 100 g of sugar.
3)      500 g of ricotta, 100 of sugar, 2 egg yolks and a milk chocolate bar (100 g) roughly chopped.
You can serve the tarts with ice cream or whipped cream.
Have a good Easter!


Fruit tart

This is an ideal treat for summer time: fruit tarts in different sizes, some small, called  paste or pastarelle in Italy (about 2 inches in diameter, ), or large (about 8-12 inches).
For the shortcrust pastry you need: two eggs, 100 g of sugar, 250 g of flour, one tsp of baking powder, 50 g of melted butter.

For the filling you need to prepare a custard cream with two tbsp of flour, two tbsp of sugar, one egg, 400 ml of milk and a piece of the zest of a lemon. You also need fruit of different colours to finish: blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, kiwi, grapes, blueberries, etc.
Prepare the shortcrust pastry first, mixing all the ingredients in a bowl. Knead it gently, adding flour if needed and let it rest in the fridge for half an hour covered by a cloth.
Prepare the custard cream by whisking all the ingredients in a pan and cooking them over a moderate heat, stirring, till cooked through. The custard should become thick and smooth.
For the pastarelle, roll out the pastry and cut circles of about three inches (I used an upturned glass). Lower them into cupcakes cases and trim the paper if necessary. Set them in a muffin tray (photo attached). Bake for about 15 minutes at 150° C.
For the tart, roll out a bigger circle of pastry and line a tin tart previously greased. Bake for 15 minutes, also at 150° C.
When they are ready, let them cool then cover or fill with custard cream and decorate with fresh fruit. Let them chill before serving.

Lemon tart

Here is a recipe I found in a magazine and adapted it in my usual ‘Italian way’.
For the shortcrust pastry you need: two eggs, 100 g of sugar, 250 g of flour, one tsp of baking powder, 50 g of melted butter.
Mix the ingredients and knead the dough. Let it chill in the fridge for about half an hour wrapped in a cloth.

For the filling you need: four lemons, four eggs, 150 g of sugar, 100 ml of double cream, 50 g of flour.
Prepare the filling, beating the sugar and eggs in a mixer for about 10-15 minutes. Add the lemon zest and lemon juice (100 ml) and finally the double cream and flour. Keep beating, slowly, for another five minutes.
Roll out the pastry and line an eleven inch round greased tart tin. Pour the filling onto it and bake for 30 minutes at 150° C, until golden brown on top. Sprinkle with icing sugar or cake sprinkles.

Pumpkin tart

This is an ideal treat for Halloween when you have plenty of pumpkin flesh left. But you can also make it all year round using butternut squash.
For the shortcrust pastry you need: two eggs, 100 g of sugar, 250 g of flour, one tsp of baking powder and 50 g of melted butter.

For the filling you need: 300 g of pumpkin flesh, two eggs, 100 ml of double cream, 100 g of light brown sugar, 50 g of flour,  one tsp of cinnamon and half a tsp of nutmeg.
First cut the pumpkin flesh into little cubes and cook it in a pan adding some water and a tbsp of light brown sugar. Let it boil till you can mash it.
Prepare the shortcrust pastry mixing all the ingredients. Knead it gently, adding some flour if needed and chill it for half an hour.
Whisk the eggs and sugar in a bowl for about 10-15 minutes. Add the double cream, flour and spices. Drain the pumpkin flesh and mash it. Add it to the mixture and whisk again.
Roll out the pastry and line a greased round tart tin (about 12 inches). Fill it with the pumpkin mixture and bake it for half an hour 150° C.
Let it cool and decorate it with vanilla icing fudge drawing a scary face, if you like, or simply sprinkling it with hundreds and thousands.

Tarts Galore!

As I mentioned previously, my mother, my daughter and I practiced our culinary skills during the Christmas holidays. My mum had bought a brand new recipe book and she had waited for us to help her make some tarts and cakes, not only for our pleasure and satisfaction but also to give as a present to neighbours (they usually exchange cakes during festivities).
We experimented with two new kinds of shortcrust pastry, one with lemon and one with cocoa. Here are the quantities.
For the lemon shortcrust pastry you need: 300 g of flour, 100 g of sugar, a pinch of salt, 80 g of butter, one egg and two yolks, one tsp of baking powder, the grated zest of a lemon plus two tbsp of lemon juice.
For the cocoa shortcrust pastry you need: 300 g of flour, 100 g of sugar, a pinch of salt, 80 g of butter, one egg and two yolks, one tsp of baking powder and 50 g of cocoa.
Beat the eggs, yolks and sugar, add the melted butter, the lemon zest plus juice (or the cocoa) and finally the flour and baking powder. Knead the dough and let it chill for half an hour wrapped in clingfilm.
Roll out half the dough and line a greased tart tin of about 11 inches in diameter, then fill it with one of these creams.
Orange cream: three egg yolks, one orange, 150 g of sugar, 70 g of flour; for the meringue: 4-5 whites and 100 g of sugar.
Beat the yolks and sugar, add the grated zest of an orange plus 200 g of its juice, finally adding the flour. Pour it over the pastry and bake for half an hour at 150° C. In the meantime prepare the meringue by whisking the whites and the sugar till stiff. When the tart is cooked and cooled spread the meringue mixture on the cream and bake for a further half an hour at 100° C till the meringue is crusty and slightly brown.
Apricots (or peaches) and almond cream: 100 g of ground almonds, the grated zest of a lemon, 100 g of sugar, two yolks, 50 g of flour, a tbsp of double cream,  250 g of tinned apricots (or peaches) cut in halves, 200 g of the apricot juice and a tbsp of lemon juice.
Beat the yolks and sugar, add the other ingredients (except the tinned fruit) and mix well. Pour the cream into the pastry-lined tin and use more pastry to make stripes across the tart like a crostata. In the squares formed by the stripes place the apricot halves. Bake for half an hour at 150° C. When cool sprinkle with icing sugar.
Lemon cream: two lemons (the grated zest and 100 g of juice), 50 g of flour, 100 g of sugar, 20 g of butter, two eggs, mint leaves (optional), one tbsp of liqueur such as limoncello (optional) and one more lemon, sliced.

Mix the sugar, eggs and the zest and juice of the lemons, adding the flour, the melted butter and any liqueur. Pour the mixture onto the tin lined with pastry and bake for half an hour at 150° C. Finally decorate with the lemon slices and mint leaves.
Mixed berries and ricotta: 200 g of fresh mixed berries, 100 g of sugar, 250 g of ricotta, the juice of a lemon and 100 g of whipping cream.
 This time you need to bake the pastry first and then prepare the filling. Let the blueberries soak in the lemon juice and one tbsp of sugar for half an hour. Whip the cream and mix in the ricotta and sugar. Spread the mixture onto the baked pastry and sprinkle the blueberries over it. Chill for 3-4 hours before serving.

As for the pastry, you can use the lemon or the cocoa one according to your taste. It’s a delicious dessert and a more than welcome present.




No comments:

Post a Comment