Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Breakfast tarts for a brunch

My mom had a few friends over for brunch last week and she wanted something special to serve them.  Not the usual bacon and eggs.  Nothing wrong with a good old fry-up from time to time, but sometimes an occasion just calls for a little bit of something else.

I shared a breakfast the other day with L.  We treated ourselves to a rare hour away from our offices and routine and went to a beautiful little restaurant all by ourselves.  He ordered a fruit platter filled with fresh, seasonal fruits and nothing else.  I kept on thinking that it looked so gorgeous and tasted so good, but it needed something else.  Maybe a slice or two of melba toast.  A cracker.  A tiny croissant.

So, when my mom mentioned wanting to serve fruit, the fruit platter came to mind.  But with what?  Maybe something resembling a bit of a tea treat, but not really.  And that is how these breakfast tarts happened.  I made some sweet pastry and then played around with a combination of fillings, before deciding on the yogurt and cream cheese mixture.  Plenty of options really.  

The plates came back to the kitchen with not a crumb in sight.  Success I suspect. 

Sweet pastry 
This is a recipe by Nigella Lawson - It is really easy to handle.  No need for nervous breakdowns.

120g plain flour
30g icing sugar
80g butter
1 egg yolk
½ tsp vanilla extract

Sieve the flour and icing sugar into a dish and add the cold butter, cut into small cubes.  Put the dish in the freezer for 10 minutes, a little longer on a really hot day.  In a small bowl beat the egg yolk with the vanilla extract, a tablespoon of iced water and a pinch of salt.  Put the bowl in the fridge as well.  After 10 minutes, place the flour and butter in a food processor and process until it resembles porridge-oats.  Then add the egg mixture all at once.  Add a bit more iced water, drop by drop until the dough just start to come together.  Take out and place on a sheet of cling film and gently push together and close with the cling film.  You really do not want to work the dough at all.  Just press together, cover and place in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Take it out of the fridge for a few minutes before rolling.  Then roll out on a lightly floured surface, fairly thinly.  Roll the pastry over the rolling pin and place it over your buttered pastry tins.  Lightly press it into the form and line with baking paper.  Do not cut off all the excess pastry as it will shrink during baking.  Cover with pastry beans (I use normal beans, the kind you use for soup) and put the tins back in the fridge for 10 minutes.  Place on a tray and bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 15 minutes.  Take out of the oven and remove the pastry beans and grease proof paper.  Return to the oven for another 10 minutes.  Let cool before adding the filling.  You can bake the pastry the day before.  Just wrap in an airtight bag or cling film and keep it in the fridge.

For the filling
125g of cream cheese
125g of full cream yogurt
2 tablespoons of honey

Stir the ingredients together until well incorporated.  Fill the cooled pastry cases.  Top with fruits of your choice.  I used gooseberries and raspberries.

To assemble

Place a pastry on a plate and add sliced fruits in season.  I used watermelon, melon, figs, prickly pear, passion fruit.  Also slice some brie cheese and a preserve, fig or watermelon and place on the plate.  I added a spoonful of lemon curd - recipe here.

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