Saturday, 14 January 2012

mini raspberry and rhubarb crumble tarts

... I awoke this morning to a wonderful frost... the fields lay glistening in the glorious dawn sunshine, their usual emerald green sprinkled in a spiders-web crochet of diamonds... and that etherial pale blue light you only get on a frosty morning was piercing the bedroom... it filled me with hope whilst the air froze my little toes as they peeped out from the end of the bead-spread... 

... I love a winter morning and it's days like this, when you notice for the first time the daffodil shoots pushing out through the frozen earth, that make me glad to be healthy and alive... despite the rather tumultuous few weeks... when you have pastry in your life how bad can it be?

mini raspberry and rhubarb crumble tarts

I've decided to make these because they feel very Spring-like especially as you can now purchase wonderful British forced rhubarb in some shops and I like to start January with a fresh clean taste of the goodness of what's to come.  I like the fact that they are small tarts rather than one large one.  They remind me a little of those classic jam tarts I used to make when I was a child and I think a little bit of nostalgia when cooking is always a good thing. I'm also using this almond based pastry for extra richness.

For the pastry:
200g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
75g caster sugar
100g unsalted butter
100g full fat cream cheese 
75g ground almonds
1 egg yolk
a little milk to bind

- sift the flour baking powder and sugar into a bowl, add the butter and rub until it resembles breadcrumbs
- add the cream cheese, ground almonds and egg yolk, take a knife and mix until it comes together into a dough, you may need to add a little milk here, as I did.
- chill the dough for at least 30 mins before rolling out.

For the filling:
3 medium sticks of rhubarb – finely chopped
1 packet if raspberries
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 dash of orange liquor
a few tablespoons of home-made plum, vanilla and star anise jam.

- gently heat the rhubarb with the sugar and orange liquor and a small splash of water. You
want them to keep their shape and have a gently bite to them.  If this can be made in advance
and stored in jars it will taste more intense but it's not essential

for the crumble topping:
4oz flour
2oz butter
2oz demarera sugar
lots of cinnamon

- mix together into crumbs before using.

To construct the tarts:
roll out the pastry
use a fluted cutter for that old school look, use one larger than the holes in the pie tray and
cut out as many as you need.
paint the inside of each tart with jam (this will seal the pastry)
- fill each tart with a mixture of raspberries and rhubarb, don't make it too neat, you want it
to look like they're pushing to get out of the tarts!
- spoon a generous portion of crumble mixture on top
bake at 180C for roughly 20mins or until the pastry and topping is golden.

I am of course, entering these little beauties into this months Tea Time Treats hosted by the superlative Karen from Lavender and Lovage and the stupendous Kate from What Kate Baked.  The theme this month is Sweet Pastry and Breads...

eat and of course, enjoy!



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