I remember my teenage years when I first started to develop an interest in fragranced body products. Of course it started out with those early years of fascination with bubblegum or grape Lip Smackers, transitioning to hand creams and body washes scented with citrus and cocoa butter. Perfume-wise I’ve always preferred lighter, fresher scents over musk or vanilla. Funnily enough, a few years ago when I went to a department store to find a replacement for a favourite discontinued scent, they told me that the fragrance was cucumber-based…a vegetable which I quite dislike..!
It’s funny how much we love the smell of flowers that we distill their essences to spray over our bodies and even go so far as to scent our foods with it. Rosewater is one of those ingredients that you need to be very careful with when cooking; add too little and you can barely detect a trace of it, add too much and it will taste as though you’re eating a bowl of potpourri. Buy a good brand of rosewater rather than rose essence, its much stronger counterpart. Any good deli will stock it; I would recommend the Pariya or Essential Ingredient brands.
This recipe comes from Bake by Delicious magazine’s Valli Little to be released on sale on 1 April 2015; it’s a small, bite-sized book curated by Valli herself. 60 stunningly-photographed and mouth-watering recipes from the Delicious cookbook collection priced at $19.99…so you don’t have to feel guilty about treating yourself to the rest of the collection that’s about to be released, including Simple and Sizzle. Bake is absolutely perfect for me, as it’s what I do the most. If you like, you can pre-order the books here.
I’ve adapted the recipe slightly, using my own recipe for the shortcrust pastry instead of buying Careme (but do what you like, by all means) and I split the serve six recipe in half and managed to make four tarts. My tart tins are a little flatter and wider, about 12cm diameter and 1cm tall.
The finished pastry is simply divine; a beautiful balance of sweet, sour and tang, with the crumbly biscuit pastry, a silky raspberry “curd”, and the pillow-softness of the torched meringue.
To serve four, you will need:
For the pastry:
- 125g plain flour;
- 62g butter, chilled and cubed;
- 40g icing sugar, sifted;
- 1 egg yolk, chilled.
In a food processor, whizz together the flour, icing sugar and butter until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Mix the egg yolk with a teaspoon of cold water before adding it to the food processor, whizzing until the dough just comes together. Turn out onto a clean work surface, knead to bring together then form into a flat disc before wrapping in cling film and rest in the fridge for at least two hours.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Lightly grease and line four small springform tart tins (about 12cm in diameter). Cut the dough into quarters, then roll out between two sheets of baking paper. Line the tin, trimming off the excess and prick the centre a couple of times with a fork. Repeat with the other three tins. Top the pastry shells with a small square of baking paper and fill with rice or baking beads.
Bake in the pre-heated oven for 10 minutes, then remove the beads and paper and bake for a further 10 minutes until lightly golden. Put to one side to cool completely and start on your raspberry “curd”.
You will need:
- 250g fresh or frozen, thawed raspberries;
- 1 teaspoon rosewater;
- 25g arrowroot;
- 1 tablespoon lime juice;
- 130g caster sugar;
- 2 eggs, separated;
- 25g unsalted butter.
Puree the raspberries in a blender, then pass through a sieve into a medium-size saucepan, pressing down with the back of a spoon to extract as much juice as possible and discarding the solids. Stir in the rosewater.
Place the arrowroot and 40ml of cold water in a bowl, stirring to combine, then add to the saucepan with the lime juice and 55g of the sugar. Place over a low heat and cook, stirring for 3-4 minutes until thick.
Add the egg yolks, one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Add the butter and stir until melted. Remove from the heat and allow this raspberry mixture to cool, then chill for 30 minutes.
Is it not the most glorious shade of pink? Fill the tart shells with this beautifully-hued chilled raspberry mixture.
Beat the two remaining egg whites with electric beaters until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 75g sugar, beating until stiff peaks form.
Then spoon, or pipe over the filling. I chose to pipe it, into little glorious cones of marshmallowy softness.
You can brown the meringue with a kitchen blowtorch or bake in a 200 degrees Celcius oven for 2-3 minutes until tinged golden. I prefer to use a blowtorch as it gives me more control, and also – getting to play with a bit of fire 😉
You can serve it with more raspberries should you wish, but I think it’s pretty ideal the way it is.