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.

 

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

Strawberry Tartlets

Strawberry Tartlets

 

Strawberry tartlets always say summer to me. These are very light and have a sweet, crisp pastry base which is filled with a creamy custard filling and topped with glazed strawberries. Mmm…just perfect!

 

Strawberry Tartlets
Prepares: 4 tartlets
 
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Chilling time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 15minutes

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

  • For the filling
  • 100ml/3½ fl oz whipping cream
  • custard powder
  • 110ml/4 fl oz full fat milk/whole milk
  • 350g/12 oz small strawberries, washed and hulled
  • 2 tbsp redcurrant jelly

  • Equipment
  • 4 × 10cm/4 inch tartlet tins


  1. Method
  2. For the pastry
  3. 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.

  4. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.

  5. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface then use to line the tartlet tins. Prick the bases with a fork, line with parchment paper and baking beans, then cook for 10 minutes.

  6. Remove the beans and paper and return to the oven for about 5 minutes until light golden and crisp. Leave to cool, then remove from the tins.

  7. For the filling
  8. Make up the custard according to the packet using 110ml/4 fl oz of milk. You want a thick custard. Cover the surface of the custard with cling film/wrap to prevent it forming a skin and leave it to become cold.

  9. Whip the cream until stiff and then fold into the cold custard. Spoon into the tart cases.

  10. Decorate the top with the strawberries, cutting them into halves or quarters, depending on their size.

  11. Add a little boiling water to melt the jelly (about 1 teaspoon) and then brush over the strawberries to glaze.

 

Simply Apple Pie

Simply Apple Pie

 

An apple pie that is delicious, especially when the apples just come into season. The pie filling literally just contains apples and a little sugar so the full flavour of the apples come through. It has a sweet pastry lid that when cooked is buttery and crumbly. For a mouthwatering finish serve with cream or ice cream.

 

Simply Apple Pie
Prepares: 6–8 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 45 minutes
  • Standing time: 50 minutes
  • Cooking time: 40–45 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the pastry
  • 225g/8 oz self raising flour
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • 140g/5 oz cold butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 egg yolk
  • pinch of salt

  • For the filling
  • 1.35kg/3 lb Bramley apples/Crispin, Mutsu, or Courtland
  • 110g/4 oz caster sugar/white fine sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1 egg white, lightly whisked

  • Equipment
  • A 28 x 20cm/11 x 8 inch deep pie dish, sides and rim buttered
  • A pie raiser, buttered


  1. Method
  2. For the pastry, sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and add the sugar. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Whisk the egg yolk and 3 tablespoons of cold water together in a small jug and gradually pour onto the flour mixture while mixing in with a palette knife until it starts to form small lumps. Quickly knead by hand to bring the mixture together. Wrap in cling film/cling wrap and chill for at 20 minutes.

  3. Remove from the fridge and let the pastry return to a cool room temperature. Roll it out fairly thinly. Upturn the dish onto the centre of the pastry and use it as a template to cut out the lid, adding an extra 2.5cm/1 inch all the way round. Then cut out a 5cm/2 inch wide strip from the remaining pastry, enough to go round the rim of the dish. Apply this to the flat rim and insides of the dish, pressing into place and making joins where necessary. Put the pie raiser in the middle of the dish.

  4. For the filling, prepare the apples one at a time. Peel, cut into quarters and core. Cut each quarter into four and pile into the dish as you go, sprinkling some sugar between each layer. They should pile up high in the dish which will help to support the pastry lid.

  5. Brush the pastry covered rim with cold water and put on the lid. Crimp the lid and rim pressing together as you work your way round the rim.

  6. Cut 4 slashes in the lid and return the pie to the fridge for another 30 minutes (up to 2 hours).

  7. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 190°C/375F/gas mark 5.

  8. Remove the pie from the fridge and brush the surface with the egg white, then sprinkle with sugar. Place in the middle of the oven and bake for 40–45 minutes until pale golden brown.

 

Individual Chicken Pot Pies

Individual Chicken Pot Pies

 

An individual chicken pie for each member of the family. Succulent chicken pieces cooked in creamy sauce with sweetcorn and peas, and a light pastry topping, is guaranteed to fill the hungriest tummies. And you can personalize them!

 

Individual Chicken Pot Pies
Prepares: 4 individual pies
 
  • Preparation time: 35 minutes, plus 10 minutes to prepare the pastry
  • Cooking time: 30 minutes hob, 30 minutes oven

  • Ingredients
  • For the pastry
  • 340g/12 oz self-raising flour
  • 85g/3 oz cold butter, cut into small cubes
  • 85g/3 oz lard, cut into small cubes
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 tbsp cold water
  • 1 egg, beaten

  • For the filling
  • 450g/1lb boneless chicken breasts, skin removed, or
  • 600g/1 lb 5 oz chicken joints, skin removed
  • 1 carrot, cut into large chunks
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a few parsley stalks
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 25g/1 oz butter
  • 25g/1 oz flour
  • 2 tbsp double cream/whipping cream
  • 100g/3½ oz frozen peas
  • 100g/3½ oz frozen sweetcorn
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

  • Equipment
  • Four 300ml/½ pint/10 fl oz ovenproof basins


  1. Method
  2. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Rub in the butter and lard until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Sprinkle the water over the flour and use a palette knife to incorporate the water until it forms small lumps. Lightly knead with your hands to bring it together. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge to rest for 20 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, put the chicken in a pan with the carrot, onion, bay leaf, parsley stalks and peppercorns. Cover with cold water and bring to just under the boil, then simmer for 15–20 minutes until the chicken is cooked, skimming the surface regularly. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and set aside. Strain 400ml/14 fl oz of the poaching stock discarding the herbs and vegetables, and reserve.

  4. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.

  5. Melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat, stir in the flour to form a smooth paste. Reduce the heat and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and gradually stir in the reserved stock until thoroughly blended and smooth. Cook over a gentle heat, stirring, until thickened. Simmer for 5 minutes then add the cream and cook for a further 5 minutes.

  6. Strip the chicken meat if boned joints were used. Cut the chicken into small pieces and stir into the sauce along with the peas, sweetcorn and parsley. Leave to cool a little.

  7. Meanwhile, roll out the pastry very thinly. Using the top of one of the ovenproof basins as a guide, cut out four circles of pastry 2cm/¾ inch larger than the diameter.

  8. Divide the chicken mixture among the four dishes. Dampen the pastry edges with water and cover the tops of the basins. Brush with beaten egg.

  9. Use any trimmings to decorate the pies. A personal touch would be to put names on the top. Making the letters does take time but makes it special. Place any decorations on the pastry top and brush these with the remaining beaten egg.

  10. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes until the pastry is golden.

  11. Serve with seasonal vegetables.

 

Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie

 

This lemon meringue pie is a true family favourite and was one of the first pies I ever baked. The filling is very easy to make from scratch. It gives a mixture that is both creamy and full of zingy lemon flavour to complement the sweetness of the meringue on top.

 

Lemon Meringue Pie
Prepares: 4–6 servings
 
  • Preparation time: About 45 minutes
  • Standing time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: About 40 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the shortcrust pastry
  • 170g/6 oz plain flour/cake and pastry flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 40g/1½ oz butter, cut into cubes
  • 40g/1½ oz lard, cut into cubes
  • about 2 tbsp cold water

  • For the filling
  • 3 tbsp cornflour/cornstarch
  • 150ml/5 fl oz water
  • 2 lemons, zest and juice
  • 110g/4 oz granulated sugar/white sugar
  • 2 egg yolks (reserve the whites for the meringue)

  • For the meringue
  • 2 egg whites
  • 110g/4 oz caster sugar/fine white sugar

  • Equipment
  • 18cm/7 inch flan case or deep pie plate


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas mark 7.

  3. For the pastry
  4. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Rub the fat into the flour until the mixture resembles fresh breadcrumbs This can be done by hand or in a food processor. Sprinkle the water evenly over the surface (if it is not evenly sprinkled it can cause blistering when the pastry is cooked). Stir in with a pallet knife until the mixture begins to stick together in large lumps. With one hand, bring the pastry together and lightly knead to give a firm, smooth dough, about 30 seconds.Allow the pastry to rest for 20 minutes.

  5. Roll out the pastry onto a floured surface to a thickness of ¼ inch and use it to line the flan case, being careful not to pull or stretch the pastry. Trim the edges and bake blind for 15 minutes.

  6. Carefully remove the paper and baking beans and return the case to the oven for a further 5 minutes. Then set aside.

  7. Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

  8. For the filling
  9. Meanwhile, mix the cornflour with the water in a saucepan. Stir in the zest and juice of the lemons. Bring slowly to the boil, stirring until the mixture thickens, then add the sugar. Remove from the heat, cool the mixture slightly then beat in the egg yolks. Set aside.

  10. For the meringue
  11. Whisk the egg whites until stiff. Gradually add the caster sugar a tablespoon at a time, whisking well between each addition, until the mixture is stiff and glossy.

  12. The pastry case can either be left in the flan case or carefully removed and put on a baking tray. Pour in the lemon filling and then pile the meringue on top, pulling the meringue up into peaks using the tip of a knife. Bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until the meringue is crisp and lightly browned.

 

Religieuses

Religieuses

 

Religieuses – a classic French pastry made up of two choux buns filled with crème pâtissière, topped with a rich chocolate ganache and decorated with a whipped cream collar. These take a while to prepare but the result is quite charming for a special occasion.

 

Religieuses
Prepares: 8
 
  • Preparation time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 30 minutes
  • Chilling time: About 30 minutes

  • Equipment
  • A piping bag with a 1.5cm/½ inch plain nozzle, a small star nozzle, a long thin nozzle (or a jam syringe) and a skewer.

  • Ingredients
  • For the choux buns
  • 60g/2¼ oz butter, cut into cubes
  • 75g/2½ oz plain flour/cake and pastry flour, sifted
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)

  • For the crème pâtissière
  • 500ml/18 fl oz full-fat milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 egg yolks, medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.),
  • 70g/2½ oz caster sugar/fine white sugar
  • 20g/¾ oz cornflour/cornstarch
  • 
25g/1 oz plain flour/all purpose flour

  • For the chocolate ganache
  • 142ml/5 fl oz double cream/whipping cream
  • 
170g/6 oz good quality dark chocolate, broken into pieces

  • For the collar
  • 142ml/5 fl oz double cream/whipping cream


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas mark 7.

  3. Draw eight circles 5cm/2 inches across and another eight circles 2.5cm/1 inch across onto a sheet of baking parchment. Turn the paper over so the drawn side faces down and place on a baking tray.

  4. For the choux buns
  5. Heat the butter in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat with 150ml/5 fl oz of water until the butter melts. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil and then immediately remove from the heat.

  6. Quickly tip in the flour and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a soft ball. Return to the heat and cook over a low heat for 3–5 minutes, stirring constantly. Then leave to cool slightly. Gradually add the eggs, beating well between each addition to form a smooth, shiny paste.

  7. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with the 1.5cm/½ inch plain nozzle. Pipe to fill the inside of the marked circles on the baking parchment, pressing down in the centre as you pipe to form round discs. Using a damp finger, smooth over the top of each disc and make a slight depression in the centre of the larger ones (this makes it easier to sit the smaller ones on top of the larger ones).

  8. Bake in the centre of the oven for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5 and cook for a further 10–15 minutes until they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove from the oven and pierce a small hole into each choux bun with a skewer to allow the steam to escape. Return to the oven for 4–5 minutes to dry out. Then leave to cool on a wire rack. 


  9. For the crème pâtissière
  10. Pour the milk and vanilla extract into a heavy-based pan and gradually bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly, about 30 seconds. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale in colour, then whisk in the cornflour and plain flour. Pour milk onto the egg mixture, whisking constantly, then pour back into the pan.

  11. Bring back to the boil, over a medium heat, whisking constantly, and cook for one minute. Pour the crème pâtissière into a bowl and cover the surface with cling film to prevent a skin from forming and leave to cool. Then refrigerate to chill. 


  12. For the chocolate ganache
  13. Bring the cream to the boil in a small pan. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate and stir until melted and shiny. Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool. Then refrigerate the ganache until it has thickened to a spreadable consistency. 


  14. To assemble the religieuses
  15. Remove the crème pâtissière and the chocolate ganache from the fridge. Spoon the crème pâtissière into a piping bag fitted with a long thin nozzle (or a jam syringe). Pierce a small hole in the base of each choux bun and fill them with the crème pâtissière.

  16. Dip the top of the filled buns into the chocolate ganache to coat half-way down the sides. Sit the small buns on top of the larger ones. 


  17. For the collars, whip the cream until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed from the bowl. Spoon the cream into a piping bag fitted with the small star nozzle. Pipe lines of cream around the join where the small bun sits on top of the large bun to form a collar.