Monday, June 25, 2012

Ladies who afternoon tea

On Friday, my friend at work was nice enough to share a lemon tart her boyfriend had made. The pastry was so delicate and the filling subtle and smooth. It made me want to bake tarts again. I had an old friend come for a visit on Sunday afternoon, so thought that would be the perfect time to make some tarts. The toddler was strangely behaving himself in the morning, so I started baking. I wanted a crumbly shell, something that wasn't too sweet, so went with the amazing Maggie Beer's sour cream pastry (I didn't roll it out as thin as I would have linked, but no worries). Then for the filling I had a massive bowl of fruit, so thought I'd do a creme anglaise with caramelised apples and pears.Accompanied with a nice hot cup of tea, they were the perfect afternoon snack to catch up over!

Afternoon tea tarts

200g plain flour
200 butter, chilled
120mL sour cream

In a food processor, process the flour and butter until they resemble bread crumbs. While still running, add the sour cream, a little at a time, until the dough comes together in a ball. Turn processor off and remove dough. Roll into a ball and separate into two. Wrap in cling film and rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

Cream Anglaise
250mL full cream milk
1 tsp vanilla extract (or a vanilla bean)
2 egg yolks
50g caster sugar
15g plain flour
In a medium to large saucepan, add 250mL full cream milk and 1 tsp vanilla extract (if using a vanilla bean, split down centre, scrap out seeds and add seeds and bean to the milk). Over a medium temperature, heat the milk until it just comes to a boil (if using a vanilla bean, at this point remove from heat and cover, then put into the fridge for about 6 hours to infuse. Once infused, you'll have to bring the milk back to a warm temperature before going onto the next steps. Remove the bean stalk before going onto the next step). In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Slowly add the sugar and whisk until the eggs are light and smooth. Slowly pour in the warm milk, whisking the whole time. Continue whisking until the custard is smooth, you don't want any lumps. Return the custard to a clean saucepan and heat over a medium temperature until the custard starts to bowl. Turn down the temperature and simmer until custard is thick. I stirred the custard the whole time with a wooden spoon to ensure no lumps formed. When thick, transfer from the saucepan to a clean bowl and cover immediately. 

Caramelised apples/pear
1 red delicious apples
1/2 pear
1 cup sugar
1 tsb water

Remove the skin from the apple and pear. Cut the apple into wedges and the pear into quarters. 

In a saucepan over a medium heat, add the sugar and water. Allow the sugar to melt and watch closely to ensure it doesn't burn. You might need a wet pastry brush to brush the sides if crystals form. Allow the sugar and water to reach a light caramel colour, then throw in the apples and pear. Sautee for about 5 minutes, or until just soft. Pour out onto a paper towel and allow to cool.

Place some of the apple slices on the base of half the pastry shells. Using a spoon, fill each of the pastry shells with the custard. Top the apple tarts with another slice of apple and on the remaining tarts, top with a chunk of pear. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

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