Tartlets? Tartlets? Tartlets? The word has lost all meaning…
…is what I hear every time I hear or read the word tartlet.
I made these tartlets for my Mum’s birthday lunch this week. It was a bit of a kickbollockscramble to get the lunch together on time as I have severe pregnancy brain. The night before we had gone out to the theatre as a pre-birthday celebration and my sister innocently asked me what we were having for lunch the next day. The champagne lunch that I had offered to throw for us all weeks before and had an extremely sufficient timeframe to work with. My organisational skills haven’t been on top form recently and my memory is like emmental. In fact I think the amount of time I have been spending thinking about my new cake stall and new cake recipes seems to have pushed everything else out of my mind.
It’s just as well I bought my Mum afternoon tea for two at The Langham for a birthday present as the fact it was cake related meant she actually received a present from me. So when my sister asked what we were having for lunch the next day I thought about it and realised that I hadn’t actually prepared anything or even had constructed a vague plan for lunch. So when I got home that night I thought about Mum’s favourite foods and how I could throw them together in a quick and calm manner before everyone descended at 12.30pm the next day.
A sort of quiche was the first thing I thought about as she loves a good homemade eggy pastry, as do I, especially if loaded with cheese, caramelised onions and large chunks of smoked pancetta. I decided upon miniature versions as well as not only are they quicker to cook but it meant I could also fill the table up with other little bits and bobs like my Cashew Chicken Satay, a wild rice salad sprinkled with Walnut Dukkah and freshly baked madeleines served with strawberries macerated in sugar and Chantilly cream.
I think I amazed myself most of all when I was in Waitrose at 9.30am buying the ingredients and then everything was on the table at 12.45pm along with glasses bubbling over with champagne. I was covered in flour, without a scrap of make-up but the house was tidy, the table was set and the food was delicious.
Pancetta, Onion and Gruyère Tartlets
250g plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
125g cold butter, sliced thinly
35ml cold water
1 tablespoon butter
100g pancetta or bacon lardons
1 large red onion, peeled and diced
2 egg yolks
200g crème fraiche
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground pepper
In a large mixing bowl whisk the salt into the flour then tip in the butter. Rub between your fingertips until the mixture resembles course breadcrumbs.
Add the egg and cold water and bring together with your hands to form a smooth dough which shouldn’t be sticky. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for half an hour to rest.
In a medium sized saucepan heat the olive oil then add the pancetta and onions and cook on a low to medium heat for about 15 minutes until the pancetta has begun to crisp up and the onions have caramelised. Remove from the heat and leave to cool to room temperature.
Roll the pastry out on a floured surface to about 3mm thickness and cut out into 4 inch rounds
Press the pastry circles lightly into a 12 hole and 6 hole muffin tin and place back into the fridge for a further half hour.
In a large mixing bowl whisk the eggs and egg yolks with the crème fraiche. Add the gruyère, nutmeg and salt and pepper and mix until fully combined then stir in the bacon and onions.
Pour the filling evenly into the pastry cases then place in the oven.
Bake for 10 minutes at 180°C, then turn the heat down to 160°C and bake for a further 10 minutes.
Remove the tartlets from the oven and leave in the tins for about 5 minutes to settle then lift out to finish cooling on a wire rack.