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Prep 40min (+ pastry making time)Bake 35minMakes 10
Italian meringue makes an elegant topping for these classic tarts. You can caramelize the meringue lightly with a blow torch to add a delicate, slightly burnt caramel flavour to complement the sweetness of the meringue and sourness of the lemon filling if you wish.
1 quantity Sweet Shortcrust Pastry, rolled into a log about 15cm long before wrapping and chilling as directed Icing sugar (optional), to sprinkle Cream or ice cream, to serve
4 egg whites, at room temperature 220g (1 cup) caster sugar 60ml (¼ cup) water
Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced).
Remove the pastry from the fridge and cut into 10 even slices. Gently pat a pastry portion on a lightly floured benchtop with the palm of your hand to fatten slightly. Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out to a disc about 3mm thick. Line a 6.5cm (base measurement), 2cm deep, tart tin with removable base, with the pastry, pressing it into the side and corners with your thumb and/or fingertips. Roll the rolling pin over the top of the tart tin to trim any excess pastry. Repeat with the remaining pastry portions to make 10 tart cases in total.
Place the tart cases on an oven tray. Use a fork to prick the pastry base of each about 4 times. Line the pastry cases with squares of greaseproof paper or foil and fill with pastry weights, dried beans or raw rice, making sure they press into the corners and fill the cases. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.
Remove the tart cases from the oven and use the paper or the foil to remove the weights from the cases. Return the cases to the oven and bake for a further 5-10 minutes or until the pastry is just cooked through and looks dry.
Meanwhile, to make the filling, use a fork to whisk the eggs, sugar, cream and lemon juice together until well combined. Strain the mixture into a jug. Pour the filling into the hot pastry cases while still in the oven (see Baker's Tips), dividing evenly. Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C (140°C fan-forced) and bake for a further 10 minutes or until the filling has just set in the centre but still wobbles slightly when shaken. Cool the tarts in the tins.
To make the Italian Meringue, put the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and stir with a wooden spoon over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium and bring to the boil. Boil for about 10 minutes, occasionally brushing down the side of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water to dissolve any sugar crystals, until the syrup reaches hard ball stage (120°C on a sugar thermometer).
Meanwhile, just before the syrup is ready, whisk the egg whites on high speed until firm peaks form. Remove the syrup from the heat and stand for a bout 1 minute or until the bubble subside. With the motor running on high speed, gradually add the sugar syrup in a thin steady stream until all the syrup has been incorporated. Continue to whisk on medium speed for another 10 minutes or until the meringue has cooled to room temperature.
Spoon the meringue mixture into a large piping bag fitted with a #13 (1.3cm) plain or #11 (1.1cm) star nozzle. Pipe small rounds of meringue over the surface of the tarts to cover. Use a blow torch to lightly caramelize the meringue if desired.
Dust with icing sugar, if desired and serve with cream or ice cream.
Adding the filling to the pastry cases while still sitting in the oven will mean you can fill the tarts completely and minimise the chance of it spilling when transferring it to the oven.
These tarts will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days (although the pastry will soften slightly on keeping). Bring to room temperature to serve.
50g (½ cup, loosely packed) finely shredded vintage or extra tasty cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
60ml (¼ cup) thickened cream
Freshly ground black pepper
With a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out one portion of pastry on a lightly floured surface until about 2mm thick. Use a 7cm round cutter to out 12 circles and then carefully ease them into an ungreased 12-hole mini (1½ tablespoon capacity) muffin tray, pleating the pastry 4-5 times to help shape it. Repeat with the remaining pastry and another 12-hole mini muffin tray to make 24 tartlet cases in total. Use a fork to prick the base of each tartlet case twice. Place the muffin trays in the freezer for at least 30 minutes or until ready to bake.
Preheat oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced).
Meanwhile, to make the filling, cook the bacon in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until starting to crispen. Transfer the bacon to a medium bowl and add the cheese and parsley. Whisk together the egg and cream, add to the bacon mixture and stir with a fork to combine. Season with pepper.
Bake the unfilled frozen tartlet cases straight from the freezer in preheated oven for 12 minutes or until golden.
Use a teaspoon to fill each pre-baked tartlet case with a small amount of the the filling, making sure you get a good amount of the bacon, cheese and egg mixture in each. Return to the oven and bake for 5-8 minutes or until the filling is just set.
Serve warm or at room temperature garnished with a tomato slice, if desired.
You can make these tartlets up to 2 days ahead of serving. Cool and then store in an airtight container in the fridge. Place the tartlets back in the tins before reheating in an oven preheated to 160°C (140°C fan-forced) for 10 minutes or until heated through.
Commonly referred to as potato ‘pita’ these filo pies are simplicity personified – and that is what makes them so good! Traditionally a homemade flaky dough is made to encase the simple potato filling and filo pastry is a great alternative, especially for the convenience. This recipe uses vegetable oil, but feel free to use olive oil in its place, if you wish.
125ml (½ cup) vegetable oil
16 sheets filo pastry
sesame seeds (optional), to sprinkle
natural yoghurt and freshly ground black pepper, to serve
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small brown onion, finely diced
600g potatoes (such as Desiree), finely diced
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 190°C (170°C fan-forced). Brush a large baking tray with a little of the oil.
To make the filling, heat the oil in a small saucepan and cook the onion over medium heat for 5-8 minutes or until softened. Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside.
Peel the potatoes and then use a mandolin to cut them into medium-thick slices (about 7 mm-thick). Use a sharp knife to then dice the potatoes finely. Add to the onion, season with the salt and pepper and set aside.
Stack filo sheets flat on a bench top. Cover with a dry clean tea towel and then a slightly damp tea towel to help prevent them from drying out. Take one sheet of filo, lay it with a long side closest to you and brush with a little of the oil. Cover with another sheet of filo brush with oil again. Spread about ⅓ cup of the potato filling along the long edge closest to you, about 3 cm from the edge and about 3 cm in from each end. Fold in the pastry ends and then roll up to form a log and to enclose the filling. Shape the filo log into a coil and place on the oven tray. Brush with a little more oil and then sprinkle with the sesame seeds, if desired. Repeat with the remaining filo sheets and potato filling to make 8 coils in total.
The key to working with filo pastry is to work quickly so it doesn’t dry out and become brittle and tricky to work with. Covering the pastry sheet with a dry and then a slightly damp tea towel will always help keep them moist and pliable.