Tag Archive | tart

Marvellous Madeira

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I’ve been absent from my blog for a while, only managing to post every now and then. Life seems to have run away with itself, but in a good way. I have a new job and I love it! It’s not that I’m working really long hours, i’m just commuting a little longer each day.

However, it was time for a break…

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Dr Doolittle and I decided to head to the beautiful island of Madeira. This archipelago, which is part of Portugal, is located in the Atlantic Ocean, 978km southwest of Lisbon. It comprises of the islands of Madeira, Porto Santo, Desertas and Selvagens. Only the first two islands are inhabited. The latter two are nature reserves. Thanks to its magnificent location, Madeira remains warm all year round.

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The climate really helps produce some amazing fruit and vegetables. The market in the old part of Funchal was full of the stuff. Every meal we ate was accompanied by salads.

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Tropical fruits such as mangoes, bananas, avocadoes and passionfruit were used in a great variety of puddings, mousses and ice creams. Oh the ice cream! I had to try a peach melba…

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Owing to their proximity to the sea, most restaurants specialised in fish and shellfish dishes; there was octopus and shrimp dishes, tuna steaks and black scabbard fish fillets. I’d never heard of scabbard, but it tasted and looked like cod. As well as the fish, I also had one of the best ‘meat’ meals of my life (more about that next week).

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There were plenty of fresh natural fruit juices such as passionfruit, papaya, pineapple and mango, as well as the famous “poncha”, made with white rum, bee honey and lemon. I tried a fair bit of the stuff and have brought some home to experiment with!

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So to celebrate my holiday adventure I’m bringing my favourite sweet treat to Fiesta Friday. I haven’t been to the online party for a while, so I’m looking forward to catching up with old friends!

Portuguese Custard Tarts
Ingredients:

250ml double cream
150ml milk
Grated rind of 1 lemon
1 vanilla pod, split lengthways
4 egg yolks
2 tbsp cornflour
115g caster sugar
150g chilled ready-made puff pastry
Flour, for dusting

Method:

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Preheat the oven to 190c.

Put the cream, milk, and lemon rind in a saucepan.  Scrape the seeds from the split vanilla pod into the saucepan and drop in the empty pod too.  Bring to a simmer, then take off the heat.

Whisk the egg yolks, cornflour and sugar in a bowl until it comes together in a paste.  Pass the milk mixture though a fine-mesh sieve into the bowl of egg paste and mix together quickly. Return it all to the saucepan and heat over a moderate heat until it thickens but don’t let it boil!

Then roll out the pastry on a lightly floured worksurface as thin as you can.  Roll it up into a long sausage shape and cut 12 discs.  Roll out each disc to about 9cm and put into greased muffin tins. Prick the bottoms with a fork androfill just over halfway.

Bake in the preheated oven for about  for 18/20 mins until browned on top.

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Melissa xx

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Pear, almond and amaretto tart

Yesterday, I had a fruit bowl full of pears that were just sitting starring at me…. I came across Lorraine Pascale’s Pear, almond & amaretto tart. It sounded perfect, I fancied another tart in the kitchen after the delicious blackberry jam and apple tart last week!

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“This sweet treat is the perfect autumn dessert…. If you can’t find any ripe pears, tinned ones are just as nice” she states. I have changed her recipe slightly (I didn’t use a long tart tin) and I didn’t make the cream that she suggested, otherwise this is all her work!

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Ingredients:
375g pack of shortcrust pastry
100g soft butter
100g caster sugar
100g ground almonds
3 tbsp plain flour, plus a little extra for dusting
1 medium egg
1 tbsp amaretto liqueur
411g tin of pear halves or 4 very ripe soft pears

Method:
Preheat the oven to 180°C / Gas Mark 4.

Unravel the ready-rolled pastry and use it to line a flan tin. Roll it out a touch more, if necessary, to fit in perfectly. If using a block of pastry, then roll out to just bigger than the tin on a floured surface and use in the same way. Either way, be really careful to not stretch the pastry or pull it, as this will make it shrink in the tin when it bakes.

Cut off the excess pastry with a sharp knife and then sit the tin on a baking sheet and pop in the fridge to harden up a bit while you prepare the filling.

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Mix the butter and sugar together in a medium bowl either by hand or using a hand-held electric whisk (or in a freestanding electric mixer) until it is really soft and well combined. Then beat in the ground almonds and plain flour. Crack the egg in, add the amaretto liqueur, and then beat it hard so everything is combined. Remove the lined tin from the fridge and add the almond filling, spreading it out evenly so it is nice and smooth on top.

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Drain the tinned pears well in a colander and then on kitchen paper. Or peel, halve and decore the fresh pears, if using. Arrange the pear halves, cut side down, in the almond filling.

Bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes or until the filling is nicely puffed up and golden.

Check the tart is cooked. The pastry will be crisp and golden and the almond filling should have puffed up a little around the pears and be golden brown and spongy. Stick a skewer or point of a sharp knife into the centre of the filling to check it is done. It will be just a little damp from the moisture of the pears, but shouldn’t be really wet like the original raw mixture.

Once cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes before carefully removing it from the tin. Then simply slide the tart off the base onto plate or board.

I have to admit that I ought to have rolled the pastry out more; the base seemed thin and crispy, but the sides were far to thick.

I also should have dusted the tart with icing sugar before I took the photographs!

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This tart marks our 1st anniversary in The Glen House, I can’t believe we’ve been here a year! Maybe this coming year we’ll sort out the box room? Ahem!!!

It’s also birthday week at The Glen House- Dr Doolittle and I both celebrate getting another year younger over the next few days…

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If anyone needs me, I’ll be counting out ALL the candles for Dr Doolittle’s birthday cake!!!

Melissa xx