Monday, June 10, 2013

Tarts, tarts, tarts

For our monthly Don't Call Me Chef column which is published in Star2 today, we decided to derive inspiration from nursery rhymes. My nursery rhyme of choice was The Queen Of Hearts rhyme made popular by Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. 

The Queen of Tarts she made some tarts
All on a summer day
The Knave of Hearts, he stole those tarts
And took them quite away

I like this rhyme but more than that, I love tarts. It's my go-to party dish at the moment. For dinner, tea or breakfast/brunch, I'm surely gonna make you a tart should you come by my way.

For the column, I made a Dark Chocolate Rum Tart inspired by master baker Dan Lepard's Pecan Crust Bourbon Chocolate Tart which you can view in his post in The Guardian some time back. 

Let me tell you: it was delicious! Decadent! You won't be able to stop at one. You may not want to share it with your guests! 

I made a few minor adjustments: he uses bourbon, I used rum; he uses cane sugar I used palm sugar and I also added some sea salt into the chocolate. I also made a chocolate-walnut crust (adding more cocoa than Lepard uses) instead of a pecan crust. 

You can check out the recipe for the Chocolate tart I made here.

Yesterday I made another tart: a Lemon Mascarpone Tart with a Rosemary crust and sour cream topping. 

Like most lemon tarts/slices, this one is tangy and very lemony. It's also creamy because of the mascarpone. The sour cream topping helps soften the tartness of the lemon filing - especially if you're not a huge fan of lemons. 

The filling is not cooked and thickened to form a curd. Though slightly runny, the cheese helps it set quite quickly. 

The recipe was inspired by one I saw in the food section of The Telegraph's site. I added the rosemary (because at the moment, rosemary and lemon is my favourite couple) and the sour cream.

The tart is best eaten chilled.

Lemon Mascarpone Tart with Rosemary Crust

For the pastry
100g plain flour
50g icing sugar
70g ice cold butter, cubed
1 sprig rosemary, chopped fine
pinch of salt 
4-6 tbsp ice cold water/milk

2 eggs
2 egg yolks
juice and zest of 2 lemons
125g mascarpone cheese
100g castor sugar
3 tbsp sour cream

First the pastry. Whisk the flour, salt and rosemary together. Add the cold butter and with your fingers or a mixer, rub the butter into the flour until you end up with a mixture that resembles breadcrumbs. Add the cold water a little at a time and work quickly to form a dough. Shape into a disc, wrap in cling film and chill for at least 30 mins.

Once chilled, roll the pastry on a floured surface until about 2mm thick. Lift the pastry carefully and fit into tart tin (I used an 8-inch tin). Prick the bottom and sides of pastry with a fork and blind bake in a 180C oven for about 12-15 mins or until the base has hardened slightly. 


For the filling, beat the eggs and sugar until the mixture gets pale and creamy. Add the mascarpone and the lemon juice and zest and mix to incorporate all ingredients together.

Pour the filling into the half-baked crust and put it back in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the filling is set.

Remove from oven and let cool. Once cool. spread a thin layer of sour cream on top.

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