‘I am just so angry that I really need to bake right now.’
My mother gave me a sympathetic look over her shoulder as she prepared dinner, where I had been ranting about my irritating day at work.
‘What do you feel like baking?’ (She’s heard this many times before).
(Pause) ‘Shortcrust pastry. But I’ll need to drop by the supermarket and pick up more butter.’
‘But I only bought you a fresh block last week!’
‘Yes, but you ate it.’
(Indignant look on her behalf) ‘I did not!’
‘Yes you did, remember those cookies that I made?’
(Indignant look gradually fades to a look of horrified realisation).
Seriously, I buy so much butter I should just buy shares in butter.
Today is a fine sun-shiny spring day and perfect for food photography. I had eyed up the Chocolate Ganache Tarts with Lavender Cream and Raspberries that Fiona had made in Masterchef Series 2, however having no lavender in the garden and a reluctance to splurge on a herb I rarely (never, actually) use, I’ve used the recipe as my inspiration but taken no elements from it, save topping them with raspberries!
Don’t feel that you have to do exactly what I do – you can boil some orange slices in sugar syrup for glacé orange topping, just top it with raspberries, or slice up some ripe strawberries (very IN right now).
Now if you follow my blog, you will know that I make shortcrust pastry in my sleep, but for your benefit I’ll repeat the recipe below:
For the shortcrust pastry:
- 125g plain flour;
- 62g unsalted butter;
- 1 egg yolk + 1/2 tbs water, chilled;
- 40g sifted icing sugar.
1. Process the flour, butter and icing sugar in a food processor until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
2. Whisk the egg and water in a bowl until combined, then with the food processor motor running, add to the flour mixture. Process until the mixture begins to form large clumps, stopping the machine before the mixture forms a ball.
3. Turn pastry out onto a work surface and knead gently to bring together. Form into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for at least two hours.
4. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Once pastry has rested, slice it into four portions and roll out and line four individual pastry tins. Cut off the edges, prick bases with a fork, then lay down a sheet of baking paper inside them and weigh down with rice or beans.
5. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, remove and take out weights, then bake for a further 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool.
For the chocolate ganache filling:
- 210g dark couverture chocolate, broken into small pieces in a bowl;
- 210g thickened cream;
- 10g unsalted butter.
Boil the cream in a small saucepan. Once boiled, pour over the chocolate to melt and stir until all dissolved. If needed, heat in the microwave on short, 10 second bursts, stirring every time. Add the butter for a glossy finish.
Spoon your chocolate into your cooled tart cases!
Try and avoid licking out the chocolate bowl and spoon if you can. Or not…. I failed hehe.
Place in the fridge to set.
If you want to do what I’ve done, roast a small handful of raw hazelnut kernels in a dry saucepan until the skins slide off, before crushing them with a mortar and pestle.
You can make the vanilla Chantilly cream by whisking together 150ml thickened cream with two teaspoons of caster sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste.
Remove the tart shells from the molds and dollop on the cream, sprinkle on the hazelnuts and top with a few raspberries to serve.