Friday, January 2, 2009
JAM-FILLED SHELLS - THIMBLE TARTS
For these tarts I have used a rough puff pastry recipe that I have posted earlier on here. This pastry is very versatile and can be used to make a variety of tarts, biscuits and cheese sticks. This time around though I used it to make mini shells and filled them with jam from a bottle. I call them my thimble tarts. They look very pretty, dainty and fragile. If that is what you're looking for of course. With shells like these the fillings that you could use are as limitless as your imagination. You could fill it with marmalade, jams, curds or with custard and top it with a slice of fruit. And the rest, they say, is pastry.
I think the picture below explains itself. Before placing the 'rings' on top of the rounds, the edges of the rounds should be brushed with some egg yolk to make the rings adhere when they bake, and the top of the rings too should be brushed with egg yolk to give them a nice golden hue when baked. I then piped the jam into the shells instead of spooning them in. It's quicker and less messy too.
For the sake of presentation it would be lovely to use different coloured jams or fillings and you could arrange them in rows of red, yellow or topped with bits of fruits like halved grapes or small strawberries (can there be small strawberries?), blueberries or cherries on a large oblong china or better still a silver platter. It would really look beautiful. I wish I had done that here, just for show, but I just wasn't up to it.
TIP : Do roll the puff pastry rather thinly otherwise you might end up with mini KL twin towers. But if that does happen, all is not lost. Simply peel off part of the bottom layers of pastry to bring them down a notch.
TIP : Be prepared too for some of the thimbles to topple over and look like live critters as the 'grow' in the oven. That happens if you don't roll out the pastry evenly so some parts are thicker than the other part which results in a lopsided tart shell.:D. But don't worry it's not the end of the world. What I do is to peel off the bottom layer to even it out and you're done.
TIP : Do store in an airtight container and use as soon as possible to get maximum crispiness. I would recommend not to keep it longer than a day and fill just before serving. So get all those fillings ready in pastry bags to pipe.