If you’re going for citrus as your headliner, it has to be legit. By this, I mean sharp with tons of zest; alive and punchy. Otherwise, why bother? And for contrast, the smoky, biscuity Chocolate Pâte Sablée couldn’t be more perfect. This one’s a keeper!
Feeds up to 12
1 quantity Chocolate Pâte Sablée (see below)
250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) thickened (whipping) cream
3/4 cup caster (superfine) sugar
Grated zest of 4–5 limes
125 ml (4 fl oz/ 1/2 cup) lime juice
A few drops of green food colouring
1 quantity Crème Chantilly (see below)
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) fan-forced.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry into a 32 cm (13 inch) circle, 4 mm (3/16 inch) thick. Use it to line a 28 cm (111/4 inch) round tart tin with a 3 cm (11/4 inch) high side and a removable bottom. Don’t worry if the pastry cracks. Simply squish it back together, and it will bake out. Make sure you press well into the corners. Pinch the excess pastry away, then pierce the base of the tart shell at regular intervals with a fork.
Blind-bake for 20 minutes. If there are any bubbles when the pastry comes out of the oven, immediately press down gently with a clean oven mitt, to deflate and flatten. Set aside in its tin.
To make the filling, combine the eggs, cream, sugar, lime zest and juice in a medium mixing bowl, and whisk until combined. Add enough food colouring to tint the mixture the palest shade of green. Place the baked tart shell (still in its tin) on a baking tray. Pour the filling mixture into the tart shell, then reduce the oven temperature to 160°C (315°F) fan-forced, and bake for 30 minutes until just set. Cool completely before chilling. Slice and serve with the Crème Chantilly.
With all the different styles of dolloping cream, you should know you don’t actually need a recipe. All you want is to remember the ratio. Rule of thumb is icing sugar will always be 10% of the cream amount no matter what. For example, you would mix 30 g (1 oz) icing sugar with 300 ml (101/2 fl oz) of cream, then it’s generally 1–11/2 teaspoons vanilla extract or to taste. With the cultured creams, you could probably add a smidgen more icing sugar to balance the sharpness but, as is, they will be especially perfect for those who prefer things not overly sweet.
Makes about 300 ml (101/2 fl oz)
300 ml (101/2 fl oz) thickened (whipping) cream
30 g (1 oz/ 1/4 cup) pure icing (confectioners’) sugar or icing (confectioners’) sugar mixture, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract OR vanilla bean paste or vanilla essence
This is your most basic, most neutral-tasting cream for dolloping on desserts and decorating cakes. Make sure you don’t overwhisk this, or you will split the cream and be on your way to making butter. The only way to remedy this, unfortunately, is to start again from scratch.
Combine the cream, icing sugar and vanilla in a medium mixing bowl, and whisk by hand or with an electric mixer until medium or stiff peaks form. Medium peaks make a nicer texture to dollop and provide moisture to slices of cake. Stiff peaks are more fitting for icing cakes and piping with, as the shape stays put.
Pâte Sablée, Two Ways
I absolutely swear by these two pâte sablée recipes. One thing that totally does my head in with making pastry is shrinkage. Often after blind-baking, your tart has wonky edges and has shrunk by half, and you are left with so little room for the filling it makes you want to tear your hair out. With this recipe, your pastry shells are rich, crisp and delicious, and come out looking identical to the way they went into the oven! Just watch you don’t overhandle or let the pastry wilt, or it will become very hard to handle. If this happens, just pop it back into the fridge to stiffen up again. Regardless, the other magical quality this pastry has is that cracks and holes are easily patched and seal up on baking.
Makes about 850 g (1 lb 14 oz) pastry
Chocolate Pâte Sablée
180 g (6 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
100 g (31/2 oz/1 cup) almond meal
260 g (91/4 oz 13/4 cups) plain
1/2 teaspoon salt
55 g (2 oz/ 1/2 cup) Dutch process cocoa powder
200 g (7 oz) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 2 cm (3/4 inch) dice
1 small egg
Chocolate Pâte Sablée
Pulse the sugar, almond meal, flour, salt and cocoa in a food processor until combined. Add the butter, and pulse until sandy. Add the egg, and process until the mixture begins to bind into a ball. Tip onto a clean work surface, and pat into a thick disc. Cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Recipe and Images from Poh Bakes 100 Greats by Poh Ling Yeow (Murdoch Books, RRP $39.99) Photography by Alan Benson. You can buy the book here.
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