Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Fig and orange blossom tarts with pistachio frangipane

I'm very much the novice when it comes to pastry and like many have often found the thought of making my own more than a little daunting. However since trying out a few basic recipes I've been delighted with not only how easy it is to make a basic shortcrust pastry, but also how delicious the end result is! This tart has complex layers of flavours and textures, but the process is anything but complicated. The pastry can even be made the night before if you're pressed for time. Just make sure you let it come back up to room temperature before you start rolling it out.

Prep time: 30 Minutes (Plus some chilling time)
Baking time: 25-30 Minutes
100g Plain Flour
50g Unsalted Butter (At room temperature)
1 Medium Egg Yolk
15g Icing Sugar
50g Unsalted Butter (Softened)
50g Caster Sugar
1 Medium Egg Yolk
A dash of Pure Orange Blossom Water
50g Pistachios (Well ground in a mini chopper or pestle and mortar)
4 Figs
Icing Sugar (To dust)

Pastry first! Rub the flour into the butter until combined, then crack in the egg yolk and tip in the icing sugar. Start off working the mixture with a wooden spoon, then get your hands in there and bring it together to a smooth consistent dough. Wrap in clingfilm and leave in the fridge to firm up for about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease four tartlet tins or a 24cm four cup yorkshire pudding tray (That's what I used!). Cream the caster sugar into the butter, then beat through the egg yolk and orange blossom water. Mix in the pistachios until you are left with a rough paste and set to one side whilst you get on with the pastry.

Roll the pastry out thinly on a floured surface, so you're left with enough to fill each tin or mould. Roughly divide into four and gently press each into the tin or mould. Don't worry if you have to break some off of one side to fill another, as long as there are no big cracks it'll be absolutely fine. Leave a little pastry overhanging, as it will shrink very slightly during cooking. Spoon in the frangipane paste, ensuring the base of each tartlet is evenly covered. Thinly slice a fig and arrange on top of the frangipane. Repeat for the other three tartlets, then place in the centre of the oven for 25-30 minutes until the frangipane has risen and the tartlets are a nice golden brown. Lightly dust each with icing sugar, then leave to cool before carefully turning them out and enjoying at your leisure!

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