On Friday night, my flatmates and I hosted a Valentines dinner party.
…When I say hosted, well, erm, we let people congregate in our house to eat food. We didn’t actually cook. Somehow, somehow, we managed to find a real life actual Frenchman to cook us dinner on Valentines night.
I mean, come on. That’s pretty sweet.
Florent cooked us a beautiful pasta dish which actually silenced the table with it’s deliciousness. He fried garlic (obvs), mushrooms and onions in a pan, added single cream and white wine, seasoned it and left that to bubble away while he cooked off some mince, and then mixed the two. He then stirred in cooked pasta and some slices of Reblochon cheese and let it melt together. After about 5 mins he poured it all into a serving dish, sliced some more Reblochon on top and put it under the grill for it to melt. Seriously delicious.
And if you’re worried about spending loads on the cheese, check out Lidl: they surprisingly have a really large variety which is totally affordable.
And me being me, I couldn’t let someone come into my kitchen and not try to force feed them something I had made. In fact, Raquel basically refused to come unless I made these. I almost had a heart attack when there were only yellow plums in Tesco and no plum jam to be found but these actually turned out even tastier than the ones I had made previously. We always have them with custard, because it’s amazing, but they’d be just as good with only ice cream or crème fraîche. They’re also really good cold accompanied by a cup of coffee, but best hot and straight out of the oven.
You can prepare the frangipane and put the pastry in the tins before your guests arrive, but leave it hanging over the sides of the tins so it doesn’t shrink. Then all you need to do once you’ve finished your main is assemble them and place them in the oven, leaving you with a lovely fresh dessert.
Recipe adapted from here
Makes 8 small tarts or one 10″ tart
You will need:
For the pastry
375g/13¼oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
225g/8oz unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 free-range egg
4 tbsp ice-cold water
For the frangipane & filling
200g/7¼oz unsalted butter
200g/7¼oz caster sugar
2 free-range eggs
200g/7¼oz ground almonds
A few drops almond extract
6 ripe yellow plums, cut into eighths, stones removed (5 slices per tart)
8 tbsp apricot jam
Start by making the pastry. Mix the sugar and flour into a bowl. Add the cubed butter and rub into the mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs.
In a separate bowl, mix together the water and egg, and pour into the flour mixture. Using your hands, bring the ingredients together to form a dough. Tip out onto a floured work surface and knead slightly, then wrap in cling film and place into the fridge to rest for 30 mintutes.
To make the frangipane, cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl (you might want to very slightly soften the butter first) until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, and once all of the ingredients are incorporated, add the ground almonds and almond extract. Place to one side.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Roll out your pastry thinly in between two sheets of cling film (you can do this on a floured work surface, but I find this way makes much less mess, and you can run your hands over the pastry to make sure it’s flat. You can also portion the pastry before hand). Line your tins with the pastry, cutting off any excess. Spoon the apricot jam into each case, making sure it’s flat. Spoon in the frangipane, using a mini palette knife or the back of the spoon to flatten it. You should need about one and a half tablespoons of the mixture for each tart- make sure you don’t over fill them: the frangipane should just reach the top of the pastry. Place the plum slices in a flower shape over the top, and bake for about 25-28 minutes, or until golden and fragrant. Let them rest for a few minutes before removing them from their tins as they will be quite squishy. Enjoy!