Mini teatime tarts
Makes 12 2.5”-3” tarts. You will need a small strainer, a mini tart pan or individual tartlet tins (I used a Wilton mini tart pan), a round cutter slightly bigger than your tins, aluminum foil or parchment paper, a food processor (I used a Magic Bullet) or pastry cutter, and weights (e.g. dry beans, rice, sugar, baking weights, etc.). A large pourable bowl or shallow container is recommended.
Difficulty: 3 stars (***)
The crust can be unforgiving if you end up kneading it too much, and leakage or a soggy bottom could occur if the blind bake isn’t long enough. Ingredients are common, so starting over shouldn’t be too bad.
Time needed: ~60 minutes (including 15 minutes of rest time for the crust)
For the pastry crust
175g/6oz plain (all-purpose) flour
100g/3.5oz cold butter or margarine, cut into small cubes
25g/1oz sugar (powdered or plain white)
1 large egg yolk (save the egg white)
1 tbs cold water (tap is OK)
For the filling
2 large eggs
50ml/1.75fl oz heavy whipping cream
75g/2.75oz sugar (plain white or caster*)
1.5 lemons, juice and zest (~4-5 tbs)
½ tsp orange extract
4-5 tbs pureed strawberry, strained (may use water or lemon juice as extra liquid)
6 strawberries, halved (keep on side)
¼ tsp lemon extract
4-5 tbs pureed raspberry, strained (may use water or lemon juice as extra liquid)
12 raspberries, whole (keep on side)
Place the flour, butter, and sugar in a food processor. Pulse briefly until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, then add the egg yolk and water. You can also combine with a fork or hand/stand mixer.
Using a fork or pastry cutter, mix until the pastry sticks together in clumps, then tip onto a floured work surface (you may also pulse the pastry in a food processor). Gather the pastry into one ball, then knead two or three times until smooth (do not overwork the pastry). Wrap in cling film then chill in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.
Grease your pans. I use Pam Baking Spray (with flour) for ease, but regular oil or fat (butter or margarine) with a sprinkle of flour will do.
Roll the pastry out to a thickness of roughly ¼in (thinner is better), then cut with your round cutter. When lining tins, make sure to press down into the tins to get the shape. Re-roll the pastry until all pans are lined, then chill the pan when finished.
Preheat oven to 400F. While preheating, prick the bottoms of your pastry with a fork (to control steam release) and coat with a thin layer of egg white (to seal the holes and create a lining preventing a “soggy bottom”). Let dry for a bit, then lightly line the pastry with greased foil or parchment paper (greased side in contact with pastry) and fill with a few baking weights**. (If you fully line the pastry and press too hard, the foil or parchment paper may take a layer of pastry with it during removal.)
Blind bake the pastry for seven (7) minutes, then remove the parchment/foil and weights.
Return the pastry for another four to five (4-5) minutes or until light golden-brown and completely dry. Cool the pastry cases, then reduce oven heat to 325F. Pastry cases do not need to be completely cool, but they must not be too hot or the filling may prematurely cook.
Make the filling by whisking together the eggs in large pourable container. Add the rest of the filling ingredients (with the flavor combination of your choice, excluding the fresh fruit) and whisk again until they are all well-combined. Pour the filling halfway up the pastry cases, then move the pan or mini tins into the oven. Carefully pour the filling to fill up the rest of the pastry case completely.
Bake for about seven to ten minutes, or until the filling slightly wobbles in the center. You’re looking for a rather firm ring of custard closest to the exposed crust and a slight wobble in the “bullseye” of the pastry.
Leave to cool slightly, then carefully remove the tartlets from their tins and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Be careful as the filling may still be cooking in the middle, so it may not be fully set yet.
Once almost fully cooled, place half a strawberry (for the strawberry/orange combo) or a whole raspberry (for the raspberry/lemon combo) on top. Extra points for style!
Complete! Enjoy with a coffee or tea.
The original recipe is adapted from Mary Berry’s (Great British Bake Off/Baking Show). The original recipe called for double the filling listed in this recipe, but I found that the Wilton tart pan only allowed for roughly half, which is why I already halved the amounts here. For your first bake, you may want to double the filling amount just to see whether or not you need it all.
Although the recipe lists the filling cook time at 7-10 minutes, it can take up to 12-15 minutes. Just give the pastries a slight shake to see if the wobble is there. Take care in making sure all fillings/pastry are even to ensure as even a bake as possible.
If feeling fancier, you can make a strawberry or raspberry sauce by pureeing, straining, then reducing the juices with a small amount of sugar (approximately 1 part sugar to 3-4 parts juice). If the sugar/juice amounts are even, you’ll end up making a jam. You can either pipe/spoon the sauce on the bottom of the pastry case before filling your tarts, or pipe it decoratively halfway through cooking the filling. To make it into more of a paste (which will allow more of a layer), you may add a small amount of cornstarch or cake flour as a thickener. It also makes a nice glaze when the pastry is finished cooling.
*Caster sugar is regular white sugar, but its size is smaller than regular granulated (table) sugar and bigger than powdered (icing) sugar. You can make your own caster sugar by pulsing it dry in a food processor or blender. Caster sugar will incorporate into a mixture more easily, resulting in less crackling at the top of cakes, or a finer texture in cake or bread crumb.
**You can used dried beans/legumes, rice, or crumpled foil in place of weights.