I have come to the conclusion of late that my favourite medium to work with is royal icing. Yes, it is annoying trying to get the consistency right but once you do it is such a rewarding experience!
I made this chocolate tart recently and decided I would jazz it up with a royal icing butterfly. I chopped and changed the recipe so much that I can’t even remember what I did but there are plenty of chocolate tart recipes out on the internet to choose from.
For the royal icing butterfly, I piped the right and left wing separately on waxed paper and left it to completely dry. Template for the butterfly wings available here. Once they were dry I carefully peeled them off and attached them together with royal icing and left them to rest propped up between books at the desired angle.
I would have taken progress shots but I forgot to do so. Maybe next time. I have since made a video tutorial on how to make these butterflies:
I was browsing aimlessly around the internet and came across a pie that had a cat face done with pastry. Immediately, I was drawn to it. A few days later and several YouTube videos on how to draw lions and hundreds of Google Images of ‘kind lion’ and ‘wise lion’ and ‘Aslan’, I decided that I would dip my toe into template making after years of using what was available out there. Can you tell that I am not a risk taker?
Let me tell you it was no easy task for me – I have no natural talent in drawing. I’m great a replicating something that’s in front of me but coming up with something on my own is a nightmare. My housemate was very helpful though – after a few pointers on how I had to look at objects as shapes rather than things and copy the shape I finally came up with a reasonable template that I was happy with. Template now available for download here.
Then came the actual tart baking. I had some leftover lemon curd from my previous project and decided to make another lemon tart – this time with a sweet shortcrust pastry – recipe as shown here.
After making the tart the usual way, it was time for the fun part – the lion! To make him, I first decided that I would cut everything free hand and just refer to the template. Results below.
It took a long time. I suggest you start early in the morning if you want to photograph your project in daylight.
I decided the pieces for the face did not cut it and I was bad a free-hand shortcrust pastry cutting. Decided to cut out pieces of the template to use as a stencil and remade his face.
The lion’s face still was not how I envisioned him after all of that effort! In my template I felt his expression was exactly right but I just could not for the life of me replicate it in pastry. I am sorry to say that I was a quitter – I stopped at two tries. I plonked all the pieces onto my lemon tart and voila – lion tart. Kinda.
Overall, not perfect but it was a great learning project. I usually shy away from drawing and creating so this really pushed me beyond my comfort zone. I am also suddenly very strangely drawn to animals as inspiration now. Hopefully I do the next animal justice.
They say when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade. I branched out and decided to make a lemon tart.
I was actually very pleased the image I managed to capture. Word of caution though – your food will be covered in a fine layer of sparkler dust at the end of the exercise!
Do you like my lemon juicer? It only took me several years to decide on which to get. I love it to bits – it was worth every penny.
The actual baking of the lemon tart was not too difficult either and the result was pleasing – smooth, creamy curd that cut cleanly, candied lemon that was intense and a coconut flavour through the tart pastry. Recipe below:
1 cup plain flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1 1/2 sticks chilled butter, cut into half inch cubes
1-2 tablespoons of chilled water, as needed.
1. Preheat oven to 160 Celcius (fan-forced).
2. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water and mix again until mixture comes together. Wrap pastry in cling wrap and leave in the fridge for 20 minutes.
3. Roll pastry into a sheet large enough to fit into the pastry pan. Cut off excess.
4. Bake for 25 minutes or until slightly brown.
Lemon filling from here
Candied lemon from here
Today is my rare day off during the week and I decided to bake a tart and relish the opportunity to photograph it in daylight. I can’t wait for the days to get longer!
I decided to make a caramelised onion, tomato and olive tart and top it off with some fresh basil.
Recipe as follows:
Tart base (enough for one 8-inch tart base)
1 cup plain flour
75g butter, cubed
2 tablespoons chilled water
1. Rub butter into plain flour until fine buttery crumbs form. Add chilled water and combine into a ball. Wrap in cling wrap and leave in fridge for about 20 minutes to firm up.
2. Preheat oven to 160 Celcius (fan foced). Roll pastry into a flat disc and press into tart pan. Line with baking paper and weigh down with pastry beads. Bake for 15 minutes. Take out of oven and fill.
1 red onion
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 punnet cherry tomatoes
5-10 olives, pitted
2 tablespoons olive oil
Handful of basil leaves
1. Saute onion in olive oil until soft. Add sugar and continue to stir until nice and caramelised (about 5-10 minutes).
2. Pour onion mixture into pastry case.
3. Pierce cherry tomatoes with sharp knife and arrange on top of onion. Add olives.
4. Bake for 20 minutes at 200 Celcius.
5. Add fresh basil at the end.
I really enjoyed making it – it looks like such a happy tart.
A friend gave me bag of beautiful limes and I decided to put it them to good use. After much thought, I decided to make a bee lime tart.Aren’t the bees cute? I made them out of fondant. It was a fun project.
Recipe for tart from here. Meringue recipe from here.
I made the huge mistake of purchasing a 2kg bag of plain flour instead of self raising and it is now my mission in life to pursue as many plain flour recipes as possible to deplete my plain flour surplus.
Decided to start off with chocolate tart because I am trying to deplete my chocolate surplus too!
Recipe from here.
I decided to make a chocolate fruit tart today with the intention of using up my stray egg yolks from macaron making. However, backed out of a pate sucre recipe in favour of just a plain shortcrust pastry due to the ease of execution.
Here’s the completed tart – I filled it with dark chocolate ganache and topped it with a lemon macaron, hazelnuts, candied ginger and strawberries. I’m very pleased with the outcome.
Recipe for crust – Put 125g of plain flour and 90g of butter into a processor and process to fine crumbs. Pour into a 8 inch tart pan and press in. You could also choose to roll it out but I’m lazy when it comes to these things. Bake at 160 Celcius in a fan forced oven for 25 minutes.
For the ganache, I just poured dark chocolate and cream (roughly a 1:1 ratio) into a bowl and microwaved it for a minute, then stirred until smooth and free of lumps. As you can see, there isn’t a real recipe as such. I kinda just made it up as I went along.