Sometimes you have baking days where everything goes wrong, you're covered in cake batter and your custard has curdled.
Other days, things just seem to fall into place and this was one of those days.
I've been really interested in experimenting with combinations of fruit and herbs and wanted to try out this combination of basil and raspberries.
These pretty little tarts are way easier to make than they look and if you've got a crowd coming round, you could make one big tart to cut and serve rather than these dainty ones.
The pastry I've used is my standard sweet shortcrust pastry that I also used for my plum frangipane tart however this time it is flavoured with lemon zest.
|Spring has finally arrived in our garden.|
For the pastry:
200g soft slightly salted butter
400g plain flour
1 dsrt spoon icing sugar
2 dsrt spoons caster sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
For the creme patisserie:
4 large basil leaves
4 egg yolks
60g caster sugar
25g plain flour
1 tbsp raspberry jam
Icing sugar to dust
To make your pastry:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Put a baking tray into the oven. In a large mixing bowl, rub together the soft butter, lemon zest and plain flour with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs. Break the egg into the mixing bowl and add in both sugars, mixing with a spoon to combine. Gradually add the water and bring the dough together with a spoon, being careful not to work the dough too much.
Bring the dough into a ball with your hands and wrap in cling film.
Chill in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
Remove the pastry from the fridge and on a floured work surface, roll out the pastry to slightly thicker than a one pound coin.
Butter your tartlet tins very well and then divide the dough into sections and lay each over a tin case.
Carefully ease the pastry into the case and use a little ball of pastry to push the pastry right into the grooves around the side.
Using a rolling pin, roll over the top of the case in order to remove the excess pastry from the sides of the tin.
Fill each case with a little square of baking paper and a few baking beans( I use rice) in order to stop the pastry from rising and ballooning when baking.
Bake the tart cases on the heated bake tray in the oven for 10 minutes and then remove the baking beans and baking paper and bake for a further 5 minutes until golden brown. ( I bake the pastry cases on a hot baking tray to ensure the bottom of the tarts are properly cooked and you are not left with a "soggy bottom"- Mary Berry would not be a happy bunny! )
Whilst the tarts are baking, make the creme patisserie. Put the milk into a saucepan along with the basil leaves and slowly bring to the boil.
In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale and slightly thicker and then beat in the flours. When the milk is boiling, remove it from the heat and remove the basil leaves. Pour the milk gradually into the egg and sugar mix whilst you are still whisking. Now return the mixture to the pan and continue to heat, stirring continuously until the creme patisserie boils and thickens. Remove from the heat and cover with cling film whilst it cools to prevent a skin from forming.
Once the tarts are baked remove them from the oven and allow to cool before removing from the cases and putting them to cool on a wire rack.
Once both the pastry cases and the creme patisserie are completely cool, fill each tart with the basil infused creme patisserie and top with fresh raspberries.
In a small saucepan, heat the raspberry jam until runny and then using a pastry brush, brush a little of this raspberry glaze on top of the raspberries.
Top each tart with a few extra small basil leaves and dust with icing sugar.