My brother David lives near Trento in northern Italy and every time he comes home he brings all of our favourites; wine, olive oil, cheese etc. This time he brought me figs, kiwis, cherry jam and the delicious Kaki (persimmon) – all homegrown. So I decided to make something, and these tartlets were the outcome. When I worked in Italy we used pasta frolla for most of our tart bases. It’s the Italian version of shortcrust pastry, similar to the French pate sablée. And while it can be a little bit tricky to work with, as all good pastry is, it’s well worth the effort.
- For the pasta frolla
- 500g flour
- 250g unsalted butter
- 200 g icing sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 pinch of salt
- Mascarpone & Vanilla cream
- 500g mascarpone
- 100g icing sugar
- Grated zest of 1 orange
- 1 vanilla pod cut in half lengthways, seeds removed
- 4 figs cut into quarters
- 4 kiwis peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 jar best quality cherry jam
- 8 tartlet tins
- Place the sieved flour and cold butter cut into cubes in a food processor and pulse until it resembles fine breadcrumbs, add the sieved icing sugar and pulse for a further 5 seconds
- Tip the contents onto a clean work surface and form a crater as you would if making fresh pasta
- Place the egg yolks, lemon zest and vanilla seeds in the middle and draw in with your fingers while mixing at the same time
- Work the dough until the ingredients are fully combined and the pastry is smooth, do not overwork or it will be tough and chewy instead of crumbly.
- Divide into 8 pieces and wrap each one in cling film, place in the fridge to rest for at least 1 hour.
- When you are ready to make the tartlets remove the pastry from the fridge 15 minutes before you are going to roll it.
- Lightly dust your work surface with flour and roll the pastry in a circle large enough to fit the tartlet tin, make sure the pastry is not too thick around 5mm
- Press the pastry into the tartlet tins and trim the edges put back in the fridge and allow to rest for 15 minutes
- Remove and line with baking parchment then fill each one with baking beans
- Place in an oven preheated to 180c and cook for 10-15 minutes, remove the paper and baking beans and cook for another 10 minutes until golden brown, these tartlets are not going to be cooked again so must be fully cooked.
- For the mascarpone cream
- Put all of the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth
- To assemble the tartlets place a dessertspoon of cherry jam in each one and cover with the mascarpone cream until it almost fills the tartlet.
- Cut the kiwi in thin slices and overlap around the tartlet
- Wash and dry the figs(you can eat the skin if the fig is ripe enough) and cut into quarters place two quarters upright on top of the kiwi slices.
- You can cut a very thin piece of vanilla pod and lay it against the pieces of fig.
A glass of Italian dessert wine like Maculan Torcolato would be perfect with this tart.
Preparation time: 25 minute(s)
Cooking time: 20 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 8
Copyright © Ivor O’Connor.