So this week just gone I made a dress for my sister, fixed my own dress and made two hundred and forty tarts (pastry, not any other kind as my punny dad implied) all for a wedding on the weekend. I. Am. Buggered. But strangely cheerful… Must be the lack of sleep or, you know, sense of creative fulfilment.
How I ended up doing the dress I’m not quite sure, but I’ll let you know as soon as I do (a subtle segue for a post on making the dress, eh?). However, I offered to make the tarts as a wedding present. With expert dessert consultation from my invaluable sister, I decided on two different tarts; a Citrus Praline tart and a Sweet and Bitter Berry tart.
I made the shells the day before in an unprecedented act of preparation, which with 3 trays meant 7 baking batches… The house was nice and toasty by the time I was done.
The Citrus Praline tart filling was a simple but delicious one I had cobbled together from the pantry in a past dessert-desperate moment; 140g of good quality, slightly bitter marmalade to every 100g of almond meal (toasted in the oven at 150°C until lightly browned – about ten minutes – then cooled to room temperature), stirred thoroughly together, refrigerated for an hour and finally smoothed into the waiting tart shells with a butter knife.
We got the caterers to pipe whipped cream swirls on top of each tart just before serving for that fancy weddingy touch, but they’re just as tasty as is.
The other tart had to involve chocolate, so I made a cheats ganache, giving it some groove with raspberry puree. I used 100g melted bitter-sweet chocolate (I used the Lindt 70% chocolate) to 1/4 cup raspberry puree (frozen raspberries thawed then blended) and 2 teaspoons milk, with the puree and milk gradually stirred into the chocolate until the ganache was a uniform consistency.
I piped the ganache into the tarts then stuck them in the fridge to firm up while wonderful John washed up the plethora of bowls, forks, spoons and random kitchen implements (my piping bag is resting in part of a never used cocktail shaker) I’d used.
The final step was dropping a teaspoon of melted white chocolate onto the set ganache to add a sweet note against the bitter chocolate, salty pastry and tart berries as well as an even finish. I didn’t think they looked quite weddingy enough though, so I shook up a few drops of raspberry puree with some caster sugar to make raspberry sugar for dusting.
Don’t they look purdy? Now, with the epic cooking (and post) done, I’m off to eat takeaway for the rest of the week.