I love baking all year round and really enjoy adapting to each season as they come with their own challenges, flavours and celebrated ingredients. With autumn comes a warm cosiness, pumpkin spice everything and an abundance of apples and cinnamon. Winter brings a festive indulgence full of towering pavlovas and hot hearty puddings and then things start to become lighter and brighter in spring.
Summertime is when the ice cream machine gets dusted off and everything gets smothered in fresh cream, berries and edible flowers. It does become tricky though during this time of year when you’re constantly trying to keep ingredients cold in a hot stuffy kitchen. I find myself staying away from things like pastry which can be tricky at the best of times. So you can imagine my joy when I heard about the new range of bakeware by Sainsbury’s Home in collaboration with Good Housekeeping. The first piece that immediately stood out was the beautiful stainless steel rolling pin that can be chilled in the freezer, ensuring your pastry stays cold! What a dream!
The collection is both stunning and practical. I absolutely love the attention to detail on all the pieces which do make such a difference. From the mixing bowls with a non slip base and a sieve that sits perfectly inside, to the chopping board with a measuring scale - meaning I don’t need to search high and low for that non existent ruler! And I also fell in love with the handy little scales that fold away so neatly (yay for equipment that takes up less storage!)
I’ve used some of the items in the new range to create these super cute summer tarts. I’ve made them as individual portions but you could definitely make this as one large tart. Perfect for an afternoon tea, summer picnic or bbq, they’re really easy to customise. Add in some lemon zest or curd for a zingy twist and top with whatever fruit you fancy. You can make both the pastry and pastry cream in advance and just assemble on the day you’re planning to serve.
R E C I P E
Makes 16 mini tarts, or 1 large 23cm tart
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
250g Plain Flour
80g Icing Sugar
125g Unsalted Butter, cold and diced
1 Egg Yolk
Ice Cold Water
300ml Full Fat Milk
1 ½ tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
3 Egg Yolks
60g Caster Sugar
15g Plain Flour
Ideas to decorate
Fresh berries, passion passion fruit, mangoes, pomegranates
Flaked Toasted Coconut
M E T H O D
To make the pastry, sift together the flour and icing sugar. Rub in the cold butter with your fingertips until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre and add in the egg and yolk. Use a knife to stir and bring the dough together. If it’s a little dry, add in 1 - 2 tablespoons of ice cold water.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat it gently into a round. You don't want to overwork the dough at this point or the pastry will be tough once baked. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Preheat oven to Gas Mark 6/200C/180C fan.
Once rested, roll out the pastry onto a lightly floured surface to a thickness of about 3-4mm. Cut out rounds to fit your chosen tins and carefully press the pastry into the tart tins, leaving some overhang around the edges. Place into the freezer for 15 minutes to firm up. Trim off the excess pastry with a sharp knife, line with cling film or baking parchment and fill with rice. Blind bake for 15 minutes and then remove the rice and baking parchment. Lower the oven to Gas Mark 4 and return the tarts to the oven for another 8-10 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.
Allow to cool completely before filling with the pastry cream.
Heat the milk and vanilla in a small saucepan. And bring to a gentle simmer. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until smooth. Add in the flour and cornflour and whisk again until pale and golden. Slowly pour in half of the hot milk into the eggs and whisk continuously. Stir in the rest of the milk before pouring everything back into the saucepan.
Set the pan over a medium heat and whisk constantly. The pastry cream will be thin at first but will begin to thicken after a few minutes. Once it looks thick enough to hold its shape, remove from the heat and transfer to a clean bowl. Cover the cream with a piece of clingfilm pressed right onto the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin forming. Let it cool to room temperature before storing in the fridge until needed.
To assemble, fill the tart cases with the pastry cream and decorate with your choice of fruits. Store in the fridge until ready to serve.