Summer Fruit Tartlets

Summer Fruit Tartlets

 

I just love the fruits of summer. Here a mixture of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and redcurrants top a crème fraîche filling to make a very light tart. Although any favourite summer fruits can be used.

 

Summer Fruit Tartlets
Prepares: 4 tartlets
 
  • Preparation time
  • For the pastry: 30 minutes
  • For the filling: 8–10 minutes

  • Cooking time:
  • For the pastry: 12 minutes

  • Chilling time for the pastry: 20 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the pastry
  • 145g (5 oz) plain flour/cake and pastry flour (1 cup)
  • pinch of salt
  • 85g (3 oz) cold butter, diced (⅜ cup, or ¾ stick)
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar/white sugar
  • 1 egg, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), yolk only

  • For the filling
  • 250ml tub crème fraîche
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar/powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 170g (6 oz) mixed summer fruit (1 cup)


  1. Method
  2. For the pastry
  3. You will need 4 × 10cm (4 inch) tartlet tins.

  4. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, then stir in the sugar. Add the egg yolk, sprinkle over 1 tablespoon cold water and mix to a firm dough. Add a little more water if necessary. Wrap in cling film/wrap and chill for 20 minutes.

  5. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6).

  6. Roll out the pastry thinly and then cut rounds 3.8cm (1½ in) larger than the tartlet tin, re-rolling the pastry until there are four rounds. Line the tartlet tins, pressing the pastry gently down into the edges of the tins. Roll the rolling pin over the top of each tin to remove the excess pastry. Prick the base, using the tines of a fork, to allow air trapped underneath to escape.

  7. Lay the tins on a baking sheet and cover with baking parchment. Pop in the oven for 10 minutes and then remove the baking parchment and cook for a further 2 minutes to crisp up.

  8. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a couple of minutes before carefully removing the cases from the tins to completely cool on a wire rack. They will be delicate until completely cold.

  9. For the filling
  10. Sift the sugar and add to the crème fraîche along with the vanilla extract. Stir to combine and then divide equally between the 4 pastry cases and level the tops.

  11. Wash and pat dry the fruit. If using any strawberries, halve or quarter them so they are of a similar size to the other fruits. Spread the fruit over the crème fraîche and serve immediately to prevent the filling from softening the pastry.

  12. Note
  13. These little tartlets made a quick dessert. I tend to make a batch of the pastry cases and freeze them so I have them ready to hand. Just remove the number needed, thaw them and then you are ready to go with the filling, which is usually very quick to put together.

 

Berry Meringue Creams

Berry Meringue Creams

 

A delicious light dessert served in individual glass dishes. Fresh raspberries and strawberries are folded in whipped cream with crushed meringue lightly mixed in. They are decorated with cut strawberries and dusted with icing sugar.

 

Berry Meringue Creams
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 15 minutes
  • Preparation time if making meringues: 25 minutes
  • Cooking time for the meringues: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Standing time for the meringues: 2 hours

  • Ingredients
  • 340g (12 oz) strawberries (1 pint)
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar/white sugar
  • 300ml/10 fl oz double cream/whipping cream (1¼ cups)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 meringue shells*
  • 140g (5 oz) raspberries
  • icing/powdered sugar to decorate

  • *This dish is a great way to use up any left over meringue. However, if making the meringues especially for this dish, follow the recipe below and prepare these first.

  • For the meringue
  • 2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), whites only
  • 115g (4 oz) caster/white sugar (½ cup plus 1 tbsp)

  • Equipment
  • 4 x glass dessert dishes


  1. Method
  2. For the meringues
  3. Preheat oven to cool, 140°C (275°F) (mark 1)

  4. Whisk the egg whites until they are stiff. Gradually whisk in the sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking well between each addition until stiff and glossy.

  5. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Dab a little meringue on each corner of the baking sheet first to keep the lining in place.

  6. Spoon 6 mounds of meringue onto the baking parchment. Bake in the centre of the oven for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes until the meringues will lift from the paper easily. Turn off the oven but leave the meringues in the oven for a further 2 hours. This will allow the meringues to completely dry out. (You will only need four of the meringue shells for this recipe.)

  7. For the Berry Meringue Creams
  8. Wash, pat dry and hull strawberries. Reserve a quarter and set aside. Quarter the rest and place in a small bowl, then gently mix in 4 teaspoons of the sugar and leave to stand for 10 minutes.

  9. Pour the cream into a bowl and add the remaining 2 teaspoons sugar and vanilla. Whisk until the cream holds a soft peak.

  10. Carefully break 4 of the meringue shells into small pieces and mix into the cream. Fold in the raspberries and strawberries, including any of their juice, being careful not to over mix.

  11. Divide between the four dishes. Top with the reserved strawberries, cutting any into halves or quarters if they are too large.

  12. Dust a little icing sugar over top just before serving.

  13. They can be refrigerated for up to two hours, leaving the icing sugar to be dusted over until just before serving.

Updated: July 19, 2017

Steak in Red Wine Sauce

Steak in Red Wine Sauce

 

Tender marinated steak is served with a lovely red wine sauce. This is very easy to prepare; the sauce adding that little bit extra when enjoying a steak.

 

Steak in Red Wine Sauce
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: about 20 minutes
  • Marinading time: at least 6 hours or overnight
  • Cooking time: 10 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 4 sirloin steaks or other good quality steak
  • 300ml (10 fl oz) red wine (1¼ cups)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for brushing
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp redcurrant jelly
  • 28g (1 oz) butter (2 tbsp, or ¼ stick)

  • Serving suggestion
  • Thin French fries, mushrooms, tomatoes and lettuce leaves


  1. Method
  2. With tip of a knife, lightly score each steak to allow the marinade to seep into the steak.

  3. Prepare the marinade by whisking the red wine, olive oil and pepper together.

  4. Place the steaks in a single layer in a dish. Add the shallots, garlic and bay leaves. Pour the marinade over the steaks and turn them in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least six hours, or overnight if possible.

  5. Lift the steaks out of the dish and dry on kitchen paper, reserving the marinade.

  6. Brush a heavy based pan with oil. (A ridged one works well.) Heat the pan and, when it is hot, add the steaks and cook over a medium–high heat, turning once. As a rough guide, allow 1 minute per side for rare, 2 minutes per side for medium–rare, and 3 minutes for medium. Place the steaks on a warm plate and and cover with foil. Rest for 5 minutes, turning halfway through, to allow the juices to settle evenly.

  7. Meanwhile, allow the pan to cool down slightly. Add the reserved marinade to the pan with the redcurrant jelly and half a cup water. Bring the mixture to the boil. Add the butter and boil down until reduced by about half. Season. Remove bay leaves.

  8. Serve the steaks with the sauce poured over.

 

Double Chocolate Melting Moments

Double Chocolate Melting Moments

 

Soft chocolate biscuits sandwiched together with a creamy chocolate filling. They are very light and really do melt in the mouth.

 

Double Chocolate Melting Moments
Prepares: 16 filled biscuits
 
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 12–14 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the biscuit
  • 170g (6 oz) butter, softened (¾ cup, or 1½ sticks)
  • 55g (2 oz) caster sugar/white sugar (¼ cup + ½ tbsp)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 140g (5 oz) self-raising/self-rising flour (1 cup)
  • 28g (1 oz) cocoa powder (¼ cup)

  • For the filling
  • 85g (3 oz) butter, softened (⅜ cup, or ¾ stick)
  • 115g (4 oz) icing sugar/powdered sugar (1 cup)
  • 28g (1 oz) cocoa powder (¼ cup)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • Equipment
  • 2 large baking sheets
  • large piping bag fitted with a fluted nozzle


  1. Method
  2. For the biscuit
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4)

  4. Take two pieces of baking parchment and cut to fit the baking sheets. Mark one side of each piece of parchment with sixteen 4.5cm (1.75 in) lines, spaced evenly apart. (This will give a good guide when piping the biscuit mixture.)

  5. Place the butter, sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl and beat until light and fluffy.

  6. Then sift the flour and cocoa powder into the bowl and fold in until completely combined.

  7. Dab a small amount of mixture on each corner of the baking sheets and place the baking parchment to fit making sure the marked side is facing down on the sheets. Spoon the biscuit mixture into the piping bag fitted with a fluted nozzle and pipe 32 lengths as marked on the pieces of baking parchment.

  8. Bake for 12–14 minutes until they are just starting to become darker around the edges. Remove from the oven and leave to become cold on the baking sheets, then remove with a palette knife to a cooling rack.

  9. For the filling
  10. While the biscuits are cooling make the filling.

  11. Place the butter in a mixing bowl and sift in the icing sugar and cocoa powder. Add the vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon of cold water, then beat until it is smooth and creamy.

  12. Turn 16 of the biscuits over and using a teaspoon divide the filling between them. (This way it is easier to see if the mixture is evenly divided before spreading.) Then using a small palette knife, carefully spread the filling over the biscuits. Now sandwich together with the remaining halves.

 

Blackberry and Cream Cheese Tartlets

Blackberry and Cream Cheese Tartlets

 

Fresh fruit tarts always say summer and these blackberry and cream cheese tartlets don’t disappoint. Sweet pastry tartlets have a creamy cheese filling and are topped with fresh blackberries.

 

Blackberry and Cream Cheese Tartlets
Prepares: 6 tartlets
 
  • Preparation time: 40 minutes
  • Cooking time: 12 minutes
  • Chilling time: 1 to 2 hours

  • Ingredients
  • For the rich sweet pastry
  • 140g (5 oz) plain flour/cake and pastry flour (CA)/all-purpose flour (U.S.) (1 cup)
  • pinch salt
  • 28g (1 oz) caster/ white sugar (2 tbsp)
  • 85g (3 oz) unsalted butter, diced (⅜ cup or ¾ stick)
  • 2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), yolks only
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract, optional

  • For the filling
  • 250g (8 oz) cream cheese/Philadelphia (1 packet)
  • 85g (3 oz) caster sugar/white sugar (½ cup less 1 tbsp)
  • 1 lemon, zest only
  • 3 tbsp double cream/whipping cream

  • For the topping
  • 170g (6 oz) blackberries
  • icing sugar/powdered sugar to dust

  • Equipment
  • 6 tartlet tins


  1. Method
  2. For the rich sweet pastry (using a food processor or mixer)
  3. Put the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor or mixer. Whizz for a couple of seconds to mix. Add butter and whizz for a few seconds to blend. Then add egg yolks and vanilla extract, if using, and whizz until the mixture starts to bind together. knead lightly, then wrap in clingfilm. Chill for 10 minutes.

  4. Roll out the pastry thinly and then cut rounds 3.8cm (1½ in) larger than the tartlet tin, re-rolling the pastry until there are six rounds. Line the tartlet tins, pressing the pastry gently down into the edges of the tins. Roll the rolling pin over the top of each tin to remove the excess pastry. Prick the base using the tines of a fork, to allow air trapped underneath to escape. Now chill again while the oven is heating up.

  5. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) (gas 5).

  6. Lay the tins on a baking sheet and cover with baking parchment. Pop in the oven for 10 minutes and then remove the baking parchment and cook for a further 2 minutes to crisp up.

  7. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a couple of minutes before carefully removing the cases from the tins to completely cool on a wire rack. They will be very delicate until completely cold.

  8. For the filling
  9. Using a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese, sugar and lemon zest together until creamy and well blended. Add the cream and beat again until there is a light, soft mixture.

  10. Once the pastry cases are cold they can be filled. Divide the mixture equally between the cases using a small pallet knife to spread the mixture into the edges of the pastry and then smooth the top.

  11. To finish
  12. Divide the blackberries between the cases pressing them down a little into the filling. Cover the tartlets loosely with clingfilm and then chill for 1 to 2 hours.

  13. Just before serving, dust the icing sugar/powdered sugar over the top of the tarts using a small sieve.

Updated August 10, 2017