Sweet jewel tarts!
What can you make for a quick dessert? This is a question I ask myself many times. I decided to have some easy ideas so next time I need not scramble, search and struggle to get it done. This is more of an assembly dessert than really making from scratches.
I have this habit of stocking my freezer with phylo pastry, tart shells, some cookie dough and puff pastry dough for a rainy day. My husband detests this and says that I should buy them when I plan to make something. But we never know when the urge to bake strikes! It may not be on the most beautiful day but on a depressing day when you don’t want to go out. He complains that it is difficult to take anything out of the freezer and calls the entire refrigerator, a museum. I secretly do fungi-culture there, not out of want but due to mere negligence. He will eventually, discover it before it matures to spore production and put it out for my viewing pleasure. It occasionally/inevitably takes me on a guilt trip and I try to scrub and clean the refrigerator. Before long, there will be a forgotten lump of some old stuff in a god forsaken, dingy corner silently molding. Happens…you see!
Freezers are different. Whatever goes there stays in extreme bliss! They attains a state of perfect peace until I disturb.
Okay, my stored frozen pastry got a new lease of life when I had some friends coming home, the other day. I wanted to make something that will not steal much of my time. Thus, this dessert in tiny tart shells were born.
First check your freezer for tart shells. If you have some, then breath a sigh of relief and get the other ingredients out. If you have whipped cream you are good to go or pick that from a shop nearby.
I made half of them with a honey filling similar to baklava filling and the rest with a berry compote. Man, it was sweet! The fruits and nuts glisten in the glaze like shiny little jewels!
- Preheat oven to 375° F.
- Place mini tart shells on a baking tray and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden.
- Cool with the aluminum foil.
While the shells are baking we can prepare the filling. First make the whipping cream.
Take one cup heaving whipping cream and add 2 tablespoon sugar. In a stainless steel bowl whisk using an egg beater until stiff peaks form. Keep it in the refrigerator. Store unused portion in a closed container and use it on waffles, pancakes…ah, anything! But think twice before you spoon it straight into the mouth like my son does.
Now get the fillings ready.
Ingredients – Honey, fruit and nut filling
- 2 tbsp honey
- handful pistachio shelled and crushed
- 4-5 almonds crushed
- 1/2 tsp orange zest
- 3 minced dates
- pinch of saffron
- pinch of cardamom
- Dilute honey with a tbsp water and simmer it on low heat.
- Add saffron and cardamom.
- Add shelled nuts, dates and orange zest.
- Remove from stove and cool it.
Assemble a few tartlets with a dollop of whipped cream followed by a spoonful of the fruit and nut mixture.
Ingredients -Berry compote
- 1 cup frozen berries (strawberry, raspberry and blueberry)
- 2 tbsp sugar
- Cook berries with sugar until they macerate. (Maceration is a culinary term for softening and separating water from fruits. Sugar maceration draws water out of the berries and they gel into a jam consistency.)
- Cool until ready to use.
Eat them immediately or let them chill out in the refrigerator so the juice lightly soaks the tart shells. These are definitely high calorie treats, so handle them with caution and stop with just one.
These tarts were made by noon and eaten at night. The shells retained their crunch and the nutty, creamy center was a sweet contrast. Everyone who tasted it had a flattering remark in praise of it.