Serve these fabulous tarts from Sweet by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh, R520, (Penguin Random House) as a decadent finish to a festive meal
(Makes 8 eight mini-fluted tins, about 8–9cm wide and 2–3cm deep, or one 25cm wide and 3cm deep)
For the flaky pastry
- 200g plain flour
- 120g unsalted butter, fridge-cold, cut into 1cm dice
- 30g caster sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tsp white wine vinegar
- 3T ice cold water
For the candied pecans
- 1T maple syrup
- 1T liquid glucose
- 1T caster sugar
- 120g pecan halves
- 1/8 tsp flaky sea salt
For the filling
- 60g dark cooking chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
- 320g sweetened chestnut spread
For the vanilla whipped cream
- 300ml double cream
- 1T icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp brandy
- To make the pastry, place the flour, butter, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Blitz a few times, until it resembles fine breadcrumbs then add the vinegar and water. Continue to work for a few seconds, then transfer to your work surface. Shape into a ball and flatten into a disc, wrap in cling film and set aside in the fridge for at least 1 hour (or up to 3 days).
- To line the tart cases, allow the dough to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes (if it has been in the fridge for more than a few hours). Roll out the dough to about 3mm thick on a lightly floured work surface and cut out eight circles, 14cm wide. Re-roll the dough, if necessary, to get eight circles.
- Gently press the pastry into the corners of the tart tins leaving a decent amount of pastry hanging over the edges as the pastry can shrink a little when baked. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C Fan/Gas Mark 6.
- To blind bake the tart cases, line the pastry bases with baking parchment or paper liners and fill with baking beans. Bake for 18 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown at the edges. Remove the beans and paper and cook for another 8 minutes, or until the base is golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool completely in the tray. Trim the pastry so that it can be removed from the tray and set aside until ready to fill.
- Increase the oven temperature to 210°C/190°C Fan/Gas Mark 6. Line a baking tray (with a lipped edge) with baking parchment and set aside.
- To make the candied pecans, put the maple syrup, glucose and sugar in a small saucepan and place over a low heat. Stir gently until the sugar has melted, then add the pecans and salt. Stir so that the nuts are coated in syrup then tip the nuts onto the lined baking tray. Place in the oven for about 8 minutes, or until the syrup is bubbling around the nuts. Remove the tray from the oven and set aside until completely cooled. When the nuts are cooled, the glaze should be completely crisp; if not, return them to the oven for a few more minutes. Once cooled, break or roughly chop the nuts into 0,5cm pieces and set aside until ready to use.
- Make the filling when you are ready to assemble the tarts. Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure that the base of the bowl is not touching the water. Stir occasionally until melted then use a pastry brush to line the inside of each case with the chocolate. Set aside for about 30 minutes then fill with enough chestnut spread to reach about halfway up the sides of the tart cases.
- To make the vanilla whipped cream, pour the cream into the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment in place. Add the icing sugar, vanilla extract and brandy and whisk on a high speed for 1 minute, or until medium-soft peaks form.
- Divide the whipped cream among the tarts, so that it is slightly domed on top of the chestnut spread and sprinkle the candied pecans generously on top. You might have a tablespoon or two left over, but these can be saved to munch on, or to sprinkle over your next bowl of breakfast granola or porridge.
COOK’S NOTES: The pastry can be made up to three days in advance and kept in the fridge (wrapped in cling film) until ready to use. It can also be frozen for up to two months. The candied pecans can be made up to five days in advance and kept in an airtight container. Once assembled, the tarts are best eaten on the day they are baked.