Again, my Jane Price "Desserts" book has not failed me in delivering an exceptional tart recipe. What I really like about this pastry is that it's, so far, been a no fail! And it results in a pastry that is not too buttery, sweet, thick, dense or soggy. I played with the ingredients and measurements to come up with enough pastry dough (pâte à tarte) for 8 mini tartelettes. This way, you can share them around; and get creative by varying your decoration style. I went for a simple look and decorated them with fruits and nuts, but really there's endless possibilities (think of embelishments such as chocolate moulds, nuts, glazed fresh fruit, drizzle of a contrasting chocolate, citrus peel etc). And, bien sûr, you can fill the tartelettes with anything you like, such as caramel, chocolate, citron or custard filling. For the apple slices on top, the recipe follows below after the pastry.
Ingredients for Shortcrust Pastry
1 1/4 cups plain flour
2 tbsp caster sugar
90g chilled unsalted butter, chopped
1 egg yolk, cold
1 tbsp iced water
Method for Pastry
Sift the flour into a bowl and stir in the sugar. Using your fingertips, rub the butter until themixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre and add the add yolk and water. Mix to a dough with a flat-bladed knife, using a cutting action. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and gather into a ball. Press together until smooth, then roll out and cut to fit 8 mini tartlet dishes. Regridgerate for 20 minutes; preheat the oven to 190 degrees (fan-forced). Line the dishes with baking paper and spread some baking weights at the bottom. Bake for 15 minutes, remove the paper and then continue to bake for a further 20 minutes. Set aside to cool before filling them with your choice of filling (eg. caramel, chocolate, lemon, custard, almond, berry).
Method for Apple slices
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees (fan-forced) and line a tray with baking paper. Slice one red apple into thin 3mm thick slices. Try to pick the brightess colour apple, and preferably one that does not change colours between red and green. Lay the thin slices on the baking tray and sprinkle with a little bit of caster sugar. Bake for approximatley 15 minutes, or until colour has changed but not browned. Option: if you're presenting these for a special occasion, consider glazing the apple slices over. If you choose this, do not bake the slices of apple with the sugar on top.