They were one of my favourite desserts we’ve made all term. Right after these.
The class is Hot and Cold Desserts and has been my absolute favourite so far. The teacher is amazing, an award winner in bread and pastry sculpture. He is much more relaxed and trusting than the other chefs, simply allowing us to go off and cook what is on that day’s menu, rather than go through long, sometimes boring and arduous demonstrations.
He is always there for us to ask questions, but I think the fun part is that we get to learn for ourselves, we make our own mistakes and we have more time for baking, because half the class isn’t spent on demonstrations.
It is amazing what he can do with a plate, and how much more you can change for a dessert simply because it is served in a fine dining restaurant and plated up beautifully.
Anyway, these tarts aren’t plated up beautifully, but they are yummy, and the pastry recipe was a real winner. You can also substitute the pecans for any nuts you like – we also baked walnut, macadamia and pistachio variations.
For the pastry
100g icing sugar (3.5 oz)
200g unsalted butter, softened (7 oz)
300g flour (10.7 oz)
For the filling
55g unsalted butter, melted (2 oz)
310g brown sugar (11 oz)
200g condensed milk (7 oz)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
180g roasted, chopped pecans (6.5 oz)
To make the pastry, cream the butter and icing sugar until the sugar has dissolved.
Add the egg, a little at a time, until incorporated.
Add the flour and mix by hand until just combined.
Gather the pastry into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least half an hour.
Meanwhile, make your filling. In a large bowl, combine the egg, melted butter, brown sugar, condensed milk, vanilla essence, salt and pecans. Pour it into a large jug and set aside.
To assemble the tarts, preheat the oven to 160 C (320 F) and grease 8 – 10 small short crust rings.
Once the pastry has rested, roll small balls of the dough (about 1/3 cup) out until they are 5mm (1/4 inch) thick on a well floured surface.
Lay the pastry carefully into the greased rings and trim the excess at the edges.
Blind bake* the pastry shells for 10 -15 minutes, until they look set, like the dough isn’t raw anymore.
Fill the pastry shells with the filling, leaving 1cm (1/2 inch) of a gap at the top.
Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the pastry and filling is golden. Makes 8 – 10 small tarts. You can also bake this as one large tart.
*Blind baking: this is where you place baking paper inside each raw pastry case to cover the base and sides and then fill it half way with dry beans, rice or pastry weights. It stops the pastry from browning and puffing up as you pre-bake it.