Tuesday, 3 July 2012
chocolate and cherries...
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry & Chocolate Ganache to make Cherry Tartlettes
This combines two basic recipes, both invaluable in their own way. A good sweet shortcrust pastry, simply made in the food processor and a basic chocolate ganache that when poured into the pastry shell showcases any number of summer goodies. I happened to have some lovely cherries, but strawberries or raspberries would be just as luscious. The pastry and ganache can both take as much customising as you can dream up, depending on what you are putting on top.
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
A quantity of ganache (see recipe below)
1 punnet of fresh cherries or summer fruit of your choice
For the Pastry
1 1/2 cups (250g) plain flour
125g butter, chilled, chopped
1/3 cup caster sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon chilled water
Makes enough pastry to line a 23cm tart case - if you are using it to line a few mini tart dishes like I did any left over pastry will keep for a few days in the fridge or will freeze nicely. Just be sure to label it clearly that it is sweet pastry as a quiche made with this pastry is rather revolting. You can add a little something to the pastry at the kneading stage, lemon or orange peel, finely chopped nuts, even some herbs would be nice depending on your intended filling.
Combine flour, butter and sugar in a food processor. Process until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add yolk and chilled water. Process until dough just comes together. Turn pastry onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until just smooth. Shape and wrap in baking paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Roll out and use to line your tart pan with removable bottom or a few of the individual ones. prick the bottoms, line with parchment, cover with ceramic baking beans and bake in a moderate oven until golden
For the Ganache
8 oz good dark chocolate
8 oz double/heavy cream
Ganache is a handy little thing to have in your repertoire as it is easy to make and so very versatile. When barely warm and liquid, ganache can be poured over a cake or torte for a smooth and shiny glaze. If cooled to room temperature it becomes a spreadable filling and frosting. Refrigerated ganache can be whipped for fillings and frostings or made into chocolate truffles. Recipes vary but it is generally the same amount of double cream to good quality chocolate. Lindt and Green & Black are both good and easy enough to get. Then any flavourings that would suit your tastes can be added. Brandy, rum or liquors work well or strong flavors like cardamom and ginger.
Once the tart shells are cooled, heat the cream in a heavy bottomed pot, just until it gets very hot. Do not wander off now - keep an eye so it doesn't boil. Put the chocolate in a bowl and pour the hot cream over it. Whisk until all the chocolate is melted.
When the chocolate has cooled enough, pour into the pastry shells and refrigerate until set, push your prepared fruit slightly into the chocolate and dust with icing sugar or glaze with some melted apricot jam if you like. I have just put a little whipped cream on mine with cherries which were so nice and ripe and shiny that icing sugar would have been a sin.