Ok so this feels like the cartoon version of a seriously good piece of literature. But there are times that you don’t want to spend hours preparing a tasty treat, and once again that rolled around for me last night. Another rugby game, cannelloni in the oven for the main and I thought at half time what better than a little tarty treat. The trick was to precook during the afternoon then fill and heat quickly at the beginning of half time. Not only did it all work perfectly but the ABs managed a spectacular record breaking win against the South Africans. A great night then.
These tarts would be perfect when you have a load of people, and want something quick and easy. You can play around with the filling. This one was total cheat from start to finish – but Jamie Oliver has a lovely quick custard filling that is not out of a box – I haven’t tried it, but just might next time I make these. Jamie Oliver’s trick with the cinnamon I did use, and boy it is definitely going to be repeated – legend. Go here for Jamie Oliver’s take, which I just tweaked a little. (It is so refreshing to watch him in action – so much energy). Easy too to just add a little something in the middle before you fill with custard (maybe a raspberry, maybe a little chocolate), or finely grate some lemon peel and add it to the custard.
Recipe – for six small tarts
Take one sheet of sweet short pastry. (You can also use puff – we just happened to have short). If it is frozen then allow to sit on bench for around 15 minutes until it has softened. Sprinkle cinnamon all over the pastry and then roll up into a log shape. Cut the log into 2, then cut each piece into 3. Take one of the pieces, push it down with your palm so it is rounded. You should be able to put that into a small muffin tin so that the pastry comes up the sides. Squish it around until it fills the space. Do that with all of the other 5 pieces. Prick the bottoms of the pastry and then put in fridge for around 15 minutes (or more – it can fit in with whatever timetable you are working to). Put oven on to around 180C, and when ready put pastry/muffin tin into the oven. Cook for about 10-15 minutes. Watch them – I just about lost mine as they were ready earlier than I had thought – so our pastry cases ended up quite crunchy – but still great.
When you take the cases out of the oven you will probably have to push down the pastry with the back of a teaspoon (or fingers – go on – be honest – it’s easier). You could of course fill each tart with a piece of baking paper and then use some baking beans to hold the pastry down while you cook it. (I preferred just to have another glass of wine). Once cool take the pastries out of the pan and store.
When ready to serve pop cases back onto an oven tray, open a packet of your favourite ready-made custard and pour into pastry cases until level with the top of the case. Put into a warm oven (around 140C) for about 15 minutes – you want to gently heat them – not overcook the pastry cases. When ready top with sifted icing sugar, or any other special treat that takes your fancy. Some grated chocolate could be good. Voilà. Done.