Sunday, 24 June 2012

Pear, Goat Cheese & Cranberry Tartlets with Salted Caramel Drizzle

This is my second entry for EthelTheGoat's Capricorn Challenge. The tartlets themselves have only six ingredients, three of which came from the magic hamper sent by Ethel to fire our imaginations.

Depending on how good you are with rolling/cutting pastry, this recipe should take about 35 minutes from start to serving - the drizzle is made while the tartlets are baking.

Brag Alert:
Of all the desserts I've created over the years - some of which have won prizes - I have to say that this is the one that I most enjoyed eating. It will turn up, for sure, next time we have guests for a meal.

For a change, this recipe makes three tartlets, and I know many people make meals for three. It was also just the way it turned out with the single egg and the pear. The tartlets are best served straight from the oven, as they are so puffed up and fanciable, though warm is OK too. At room temperature they are still good but look flatter. The drizzle should be served warm - it's optional of course, and can be made to go with plenty of other desserts such as plain vanilla ice cream, meringues, large fruit tarts, coffee gateau or fruit salad.

The tartlets here were made in a tray of individual Yorkshire pudding tins; they could be made in smaller jam tart sized tins but they're then gone in a couple of mouthfuls. Not enough! Here's one pictured on a side plate:
Pear, Goat Cheese & Cranberry Tartlets with Salted Caramel Drizzle
Ingredients for the Tartlets
     90g puff pastry (or 1 ready-rolled sheet)
     1 free range egg
     25g Capricorn goat cheese, crumbled
     2 tsp double cream
     1 dessert pear, peeled, quartered, cored & coarsely sliced
     24 dried cranberries (about 20g) (or fresh)
Ingredients for the Drizzle
     75ml double cream
     2 tbsp golden syrup (about 65g)
     25g soft brown sugar (dark or light)
     15g butter
     Half tsp salt

The oven should be heated to 200C, or 180C fan, shelf in the centre. The Yorkshire pudding/tartlet tins should be very lightly oiled.

1  On a floured board, roll out the pastry to an area large enough to cut out three 
          11cm-diameter circles - and cut them out. Press gently into the tartlet tins.
2  Crack the egg into a small bowl and add the Capricorn cheese and the cream. Beat
          gently with a fork until evenly mixed.
3  Place the pear slices neatly into the cases, and pour the egg mixture evenly over them.
4  Sprinkle the cranberries over the tartlets.
5  Bake for 15 minutes or so, until the pastry is browned and the filling well set.
6  Meanwhile, to make the drizzle, place the cream, syrup and brown sugar in a small pan
          and bring to the boil, stirring. Simmer gently for 3 minutes then remove from heat.
7  Stir in the butter and the salt. Check for taste (it'll be very hot) in case you feel another
          pinch of salt is needed.
8  Serve the tartlets as soon as possible, pouring the drizzle over and around each one.

It's best not to put the filling into the tartlets until it's time to bake them, otherwise the pastry could go soggy. I filled mine and put them in to bake just as a light main course was served, but the drizzle had been made beforehand. If you tend to linger over main courses - which I know we should - then the drizzle can be made in advance and kept warm, and the tartlets quickly filled and put in the oven as soon as the first diner has finished the main course!

I've a dream that will never come true, but I enjoy dreaming it. We open a smart vegetarian restaurant called 'Specials', which becomes famous and successful. Whenever I create a dish that's especially pleasing, I always think, 'That can go on the menu at Specials', and then work out how much it costs to make and what we would charge for it. Daydream par excellence.

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