Thursday, 5 February 2015

Roasted Hazelnut Syrup Tart with Mascarpone Pastry

"Mascarpone pastry? What sweet lunacy is this?" I hear you cry. But fear not, I have not gone completely barmy (well, no more than usual). Using Mascarpone cream cheese, as well as butter gives the pastry a fantastically flaky, crisp crumb and beautiful biscuity flavour, which works brilliantly both as a shell and as a pie topping. This time I've used it as a shell and filled it with a roasty toasty, not to mention saccharine sweet roasted hazelnut syrup filling. With regards to the hazelnuts themselves I buy them pre-ground, as I find it very hard to get the fine milling required when grinding myself. You can pick these up relatively simply in some supermarkets, or failing that online. To the kitchen!

Prep time: 30 Mins (Plus 25 mins chilling time)
Baking time: 40 Mins
For the pastry
200g Plain Flour
75g Unsalted Butter (Cold and cut into cubes)
75g Mascarpone Cheese
1 Egg Yolk
2tbsp Caster Sugar

For the filling
454g Tin of Golden Syrup
Juice and Zest of 1 Lemon
100g Ground Roasted Hazelnuts
100g Fresh White Breadcrumbs

I don't know why people fear pastry, it is so easy to make! Add the flour to a large mixing bowl and rub in the butter. You don't want any lumps! Add the cheese, egg yolk and caster sugar, then give it a brief mix with a flat bladed knife. Using your hands bring together to a smooth dough, then wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge for around 25 minutes.

Once the pastry has rested in the fridge, remove it and preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5. Take a 21cm fluted tart or flan tin, then on a lightly floured surface roll the pastry out thinly, so it is big enough to fit. Carefully press the pastry to the edges and trim off any excess, leaving about a 1cm extra pastry over the edge (to allow for shrinkage). Repair any cracks with the leftover pastry, then line with baking paper, fill with baking beans and blind bake in the centre of the oven for 10 minutes. Remove the beads and paper, return to the oven for a further two minutes to dry out the base, then remove and set to one side whilst you prepare the filling.

Speaking of which, add the syrup to a saucepan along with the lemon zest and juice, then slowly warm through on a medium heat. When the mixture is just starting to bubble add the hazelnuts and breadcrumbs, mix through, then remove from the heat and keep mixing until evenly combined. Pour into your pastry case and return to the oven. As soon as you put the tart into the oven turn the heat down to gas 4 and bake for around 35-40 minutes, until just starting to colour on top. Keep any eye on it as once it starts to colour it will turn very quickly.

When you are happy the tart is baked remove it from the oven, leave in the tin for around 30 minutes, then very carefully remove. Trim any excess pastry with a sharp knife and serve. I like mine warm with ice cream, but it's just as delectable cold the next day. Yum yum yum!

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