This week was pastry week on the Great British Bake Off. Pastry is one of my favourite things to make so I always look forward to pastry week. And of course it’s always good to have something to eat while watching GBBO, so I decided to make a tart.
I thought that I’d mastered sweet pastry until I decided to give this Jamie Oliver recipe a go. I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with Jamie. He seems like a nice guy, and a lot of his recipes are fantastic, but then he piles everything up on a wooden board and my OCD goes into overdrive. That and there was something about the way the recipes in his 30 Minute Meals book were written that annoyed me. I can’t remember what, but the book was sent to the charity shop to be appreciated by someone else!
His sweet pastry recipe has tipped the scales in favour of love, though. It’s beautiful. My pastry was always buttery and crumbly and delicious, but Jamie’s recipe produced a gorgeous, sweet, crisp pastry case.
I filled this case with a sweet, gooey caramel that I mixed with toasted macadamia nuts and I topped the whole thing with a thick layer of chocolate ganache. It’s a rich, sweet, crunchy dessert that should be enjoyed in small slivers, preferably with a dollop of cream.
Jamie’s pastry recipe makes enough for 2 beautifully thin 9 inch tarts, so I’ve halved the recipe below. If you want to make the full amount, the second half will freeze perfectly. Shout out too to Nigella, whose salted caramel sauce is my go-to recipe when I want to drizzle, fill or coat anything with silky, golden deliciousness.
25g icing sugar
110g cold butter, cubed
Half an egg
Splash of milk
Egg wash (Use the rest of the egg mixed with a splash of milk)
Caramel and Macadamia Nut Filling
50g soft brown sugar50g caster sugar
50g golden syrup
100g macadamia nuts
200g dark chocolate, chopped
Sift the flour and icing sugar into a bowl (if doing it by hand) or into the bowl of a food processor. Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs, or pulse it in the food processor. Mix in the egg (or pulse in the processor) and add milk until the dough has just come together. Flatted the dough into a thick disk and wrap it in cling film. Put it in the fridge to rest for about 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, roll out the dough on a floured surface until you have a disk bigger than your tart tin. Roll the pastry onto the rolling pin and unroll it over the tart tin. Gently ease the pastry into the tin, pressing it lightly so the tin is well lined. Roll the rolling pin over the top to trim the edges. Prick the base of the pastry all over with a fork. Put the pastry case into the freezer for half an hour, but longer will do it no harm.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Scrunch up some parchment paper, unwrap it and line the pastry case. Fill it with baking beans or rice and pop it in the oven to bake blind for 10 minutes. Remove the paper, brush the pastry with the egg wash, and return it to the oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes I turned the oven off and left mine in while I made the caramel so it was extra crisp but not burnt.
While the oven is on, pop the nuts in to roast for a few minutes. Remove when they’re golden brown and roughly chop.
To make the caramel, melt the butter, sugars and syrup in a saucepan and bring it slowly to a boil. Simmer for about 6 or 7 minutes, swirling occasionally, and then remove from the heat. Add the cream and swirl to combine. Return to the heat for a minute or two. Add the nuts and leave the sauce to cool and thicken.
Pour your thickened caramel sauce into the pastry case and put it in the fridge to set.
For the ganache, put the cream in a saucepan and heat until it’s almost boiling. Pour it over the chocolate and leave it for a few minutes before stirring until the chocolate has melted completely. Leave the ganache to cool before pouring it over the caramel.
Put the tart in the fridge to set for a couple of hours. The longer you leave it, the more the caramel will set, and you can make it the day before and keep it in the fridge with no issues.
Serve in thin slices with softly whipped cream.