Tuesday 8 May 2012

A Trio of Tarts

The plan was to complete all my monthly baking challenges in one afternoon, with three varieties of shortcrust pastry tarts which fitted in with the themes of each challenge, but you know what they say about the best laid plans.....

I'll gloss over the mishap quickly. The Tea Time Treats challenge for May was to use flowers in some form. I'd seen Dan Lepard's recipe for Rosewater Delight Jam Tarts a few weeks ago, and this seemed an ideal opportunity to try it. Unfortunately my Rosewater flavoured jam filling was far from delightful - it was bitter, chemical tasting, and frankly, inedible! It may be that there are different grades or strengths of Rosewater on the market, and I guess, rather than following the recipe blindly, I should have been warned by the fact that the last time I baked with this brand of Rosewater, I only needed a teaspoon to flavour a whole batch of blondies. The tarts looked very pretty, with the deep pink colour from the strawberry jam, and sprinkled with chopped pistachios, but in the end I was grateful that the filling was only enough for two 9cm (3 1/2") tarts. So, back to the square one for a Tea Time Treat this month.

These Chocolate and Marzipan Tarts, were far more successful. They were made for We Should Cocoa , where the challenge this month is to use almonds.

I used a sweet shortcrust pastry to line 4 tartlet tins, then put a teaspoon of smooth apricot jam in the bottom of each unbaked case. I topped this with a 2mm thick circle of marzipan which just fit inside the pastry case. The chocolate topping was an all-in-one sponge mix of 50g each of sugar and butter, 1 egg, 35g SR flour, 15g of cocoa, with 50g melted plain chocolate folded into the cake batter. This was baked at 180C for about 25 minutes, until the pasrty was cooked and the filling felt firm.

I didn't get to taste these, but the reports were that although the marzipan couldn't be seen, there was a tasty sticky almondy layer at the bottom of each tart, which complimented the chocolate cake topping.

The third variety of tart was Rhubarb and Hazelnut, and these are for the AlphaBakes challenge - this month the letter H was randomly chosen by Caroline at Caroline Makes; H is for Hazelnuts, of course! 

For these I filled 4 unbaked pastry cases with a hazelnut frangipane made from 50g each of sugar and butter, 1 egg, 40g ground hazelnuts and 20g plain flour beaten together. This was divided between the pastry cases, then a few pieces of cooked rhubarb were pressed into the surface. Again. these were baked at 180C for about 25 minutes, until the frangipane was golden brown, and the pastry cooked.

These were delicately flavoured, but very tasty, although I think the concept would have been more successful in a large tart, where more rhubarb could have been used. I haven't tried the combination of rhubarb and hazelnuts before, but it will definitely be used again!

Despite the disappointment of the Rosewater Delight Jam Tarts, this was a good baking session and gave me a chance to use my new tartlet tray from Sainsbury's, as well as make my entries for two of the baking challenges that I take part in. The family got some lovely Bank Holiday treats too!

We Should Cocoa is a monthly cooking challenge to use chocolate and a nominated ingredient or cooking method together. It is jointly hosted by Choclette at Chocolate Log Blog, and Chele at Chocolate Teapot, although this month the theme was chosen by a guest host - Laura of How to Cook Good Food
The AlphaBakes Challenge is a monthly baking challenge to make something  featuring a randomly chosen letter - this can be part of the name of the product or one of the major ingredients. It is hosted jointly by Caroline, from Caroline Makes, and Ros from The More Than Occasional Baker, who take turns to generate a random letter and collate the entries. 


Unknown said...

wow, well done you... that's a lot of challenges is one post... I tried but forgot my chocolate so i'm going to have to go again!... I think the rhubarb one here is my favourite... although a slice of each would be needed to be sure x

Caroline said...

They all look great. Which brand of rosewater are you using. I think mine is EPC and I find it quite insipid really. Perhaps my tastebuds are rubbish! Rhubarb and hazelnut does sound like a good combo - have you still got garden rhubarb to use?

Suelle said...

Caroline - the rosewater is a brand called Star Kay White, made in the USA. Stocked by Waitrose.

I saw a different brand in Tesco at less than half the price, so maybe there is a difference between brands. It's times like this I miss Dan's forum to discuss the Guardian recipes.

I've got plenty of rhubarb in the garden at the moment, although the cold weather is slowing it down.

Phil in the Kitchen said...

That's an excellent bit of planning. I wish I was that organised. I really do like the sound of that rhubarb and hazelnut. I've found a big difference in brands of rosewater and I do prefer a lightly scented variety if I can get it.

Kate@whatkatebaked said...

What a tempting selection of tarts Suelle, no doubt a huge hit with all the family!

Caroline Cowe said...

These look great, thanks for entering them into Alphabakes - you were our first hazelnuts entry which surprised me as it was the first ingredient I thought of and I assumed more people would have chosen it - but honey is turning out to be more popular!
I'm not a fan of rhubarb so if I made these I would probably substitute something else but I do like the look of them!

Baking Addict said...

I love planning recipes that fit multiple challenges (as you can probably tell) This trio of tarts is very impressive! It's a shame the rose water tarts didnt work out but the rest look amazing! Thanks for entering AlphaBakes, a great entry! :)

laura@howtocookgoodfood said...

Wow thanks for entering your chocolate marzipan tarts into We Should Cocoa. They look and sound so wonderful. I am a huge fan of marzipan anyway and would find it a welcome surprise in my chocolate tart any day!

celia said...

Suelle, good to know the rhubarb and hazelnut combination works well - I'll give that a go once the rhubarb in the yard recovers! And I've never had luck with rosewater either. All your tarts look very pretty! :)

Alicia Foodycat said...

The tarts look gorgeous! But yes, still captcha words.

Suelle said...

Thanks, Foodycat.

I think I've turned off word verification now. It's a pain to use!

Choclette said...

Oh yummity yum Suelle. These all sound delicious. If you hadn't mentioned about the disappointing rose delights, I would be having a very hard time wondering which one I would pick. As it is, I can't make my mind up between the remaining two, they both sound like my sort of tarts. What a good thought to try and do three tarts for three challenges. Thank you for entering one for We Should Cocoa.

BTW, if you are interested in being a guest host at some future date, do let me know.

Unknown said...

Love the trio of tatrs. My fav is the marzipan one.
Happy to follow from now on :D

laura@howtocookgoodfood said...

Hi, just to let you know I have put the correct photo into the round up! Laura xx