Honey and Almond Tarts
Now things are getting serious – pastry. Pastry isn’t that difficult to make but to be honest, as I’ve got better with pastry it has become more of a pain to work with, even if the results have gone insanely good. Be patient when rolling out pastry and try to follow all my tips for getting it perfect.
This recipe makes 30 and each is one bite big (unless you’re a lady) so you’ll probably eat 2 or 3 at once… or is that just me?
For the Pastry:
6oz Plain Flour
3oz Caster Sugar
3oz Butter (soften in the microwave, full power for about 10-15seconds)
For the Filling:
4oz Butter (soften in the microwave, full power for about 10-15seconds)
4oz Caster Sugar
1 Egg (crack on a flat surface to avoid any rogue egg-shell in your cake)
2tsps Vanilla Extract
2oz Ground Almonds
3oz Icing Sugar
For the pastry, mix together the flour and caster sugar using a spoon or whisk to ensure the two ingredients are evenly combined. Cut the butter into small cubes and “rub” into the flour by pressing the mixture together with your fingertips. Continue to do this until you have fine breadcrumbs.
Once you have fine “breadcrumbs”, gradually add cold water and bind the dough together. Add as little water as possible because the less water there is in the pastry, the flakier it turns out. Wrap the dough in Clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least one hour (this hardens the butter and stops it melting and releasing water into the pastry).
In a mixing bowl place the 4oz of caster sugar and add the 4oz butter, cut into cubes. Cream the butter and sugar together with a wooden spoon by pressing the mixture into the base of the bowl until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the 1 egg using an electric whisk if you have one. Add the vanilla and honey and thoroughly whisk the mixture together. Sieve in the ground almonds and fold them in.
Pre-heat the oven to 160oC (325oF, Gas Mark 3).
Grease a tart tray.
Take the pastry out of the fridge and roll it out with a rolling pin. Lightly flour the work surface and place the dough onto the flour; dust the top of the dough with flour as well. Begin to roll it out and after every 4 or 5 rolls, flip the dough over and turn 90 degrees before rolling again. Make sure to flour the work surface as you flip the dough. Once the dough is quite well rolled out and too large to flip, just turn it 90 degrees between rolls. When the dough is about 5mm thick, gather it all up into a ball and start again. This isn’t to annoy you, it is to make the dough manageable and to prevent it from falling apart when you start cutting it (assuming you have nice thin and delicate pastry of course rather than a rubbery mass).
Once the dough is about 2 or 3mm thick, you can cut out circles of pastry either free-hand or using a pastry cutter. Once you have got what you can from the pastry, gather it up, re-roll and then cut out some more. Place the circles of pastry into the tart tray and spoon about a tsp of the filling into the centre.
Bake the tarts for 17mins and then remove from the oven, allowing to cool completely.
Sieve the icing sugar into a bowl and add a dash of hot water to combine the sugar into a paste. Decorate the tarts however you like.
These tarts are very simple and basic but have great flavour. As much as I am not one for pointless decoration, the icing does actually add flavour; you could also add a tsp of cinnamon to the icing to improve the flavour even further.
So far I have kept things quite simple, but the next recipe will make things a bit more interesting…