5 Feb 2013

Valentine's day: My Mini Raspberry Love Tarts

It's February the 14th and you've decided to boycott Valentine's day and not go to a fancy restaurant. But, you’re not writing it off altogether because you can't help being a bit cheesy, so you've invited your lover round for a dinner at home. 

In an ideal world, your evening should look like this: 
- Your boss, in an outburst of universal love, has exceptionnally sent the whole office home at 5.00pm "Enjoy your night with your loved ones, I'll see you tomorrow".
- You've been to the beautician yesterday, and even bought new fancy lingerie to show off tonight
- You've done your shopping and prepared half of the food in advance

Tonight, you'll just have to light the candles, put on some make up, and grill the steaks. Easy peasy. 

In my world, your evening might more look like this: 
- You forgot a big work deadline that you have to finish before you go. You're already running late.
- You haven't thought of tonight's menu, you pace the grocery aisle in a panic for 20mins in search of inspiration
- Somewhere in the chicken alley, you realise you look like a mess and there is no way you can get away without a complete makeover before he shows up

Well, it looks like things aren’t going so well but you can still save the night with my favourite Cheat's Strategy : Mini preparation, Wonderful presentation 
1/ Prepare a simple meal (brushettas, rocket salad with nuts, cheese board with grapes and chutney...)
2/ Open a good bottle of wine
3/ Prepare a 10min kick ass dessert that will be the show stopper of the evening

Recipe for valentine

My mini Rasberry Love Tarts

These tarts are as impressive as they are easy to make. You can make the crème pâtissière (pastry cream) 1 to 2 days in advance, or even cheat and swap it with some good quality thick vanilla yoghurt (I reckon the Activia intensely creamy range would work fine)

And if you plan to Not-celebrate Valentine's day with some friends, this recipe works fine too!

Ingredients for 4 mini tarts:
A few sheets of filow pastry (3 or 4 max)
10g of melted butter
1/2 punnet of fresh raspberries

For the Crème pâtissière:
4 egg yolks
100 g caster sugar
25 g cornflour
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
350 ml milk
15g unsalted butter

Make the crème pâtissière: 
1. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until light and thick, then stir in the cornflour.

2. Put the with the milk in a pan and bring it slowly just up to the boil. Pour the milk onto the egg mixture, whisking all the time. Return the mixture to the pan and stir over a low-medium heat until it comes up to a gentle boil. It must boil for it to thicken. Continue to cook, stirring all the time (or use a whisk if it looks lumpy), for approx 2 minutes or until it has thickened.

3. Remove the saucepan from the heat, add the vanilla extract and the unsalted butter, whisk well and pour into a bowl. If the mixture goes a little lumpy while cooking, remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk well. If it is still lumpy when cooked, push it through a sieve.

4. Cover with cling film and allow to cool. It must be covered to prevent a skin forming. 

Make the pastry cases:
Preheat the oven to 185deg C.

1. Cut the filo pastry into square of approx 5cm a side. Brush each square with melted butter, and pile up 4 or 5 squares on top of another, shifting each square a little to the side of each other so the edges are not exactly matching. (the butter will help the filo sheets to stick to one another and make your pastry cases golden and crispy). Repeat until you've form 4 sheets piles for the 4 tarts

2. Carefully line a buttered muffin tray or buttered mini pudding moulds with your pastry piles to create mini pastry cases, taking care not to rip the pastry.

3. Cook in the oven for approx 10min or until golden. Leave to cool completely before taking your pastry cases out of the moulds. Handle with great care not to break them.

4. Just before dinner, spoon crème pâtissière in each case, and top with fresh raspberries. 

raspberry tart

raspberry tart recipe
raspberry tart

What's on the Drinks Menu Alex?
A Champagne, 
A sweet wine from the Loire valley in France, 
A Muscat, 
or even a Vanilla milk!

Thanks Alex!

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