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Pastry Recipes for BBC RADIO 4 The Food Programme 10th October 2004


Tamarind Tort

This unusual sweet and sour tart is adapted from a recipe in Charles Carter's The Complete Practical Cook. London: 1730

8 ozs (250 grams) Paste Royal

4 ozs (125 grams) sugar

1 pint (600 mls) double cream

1 cinnamon stick

1 blade of mace

5 egg yolks

3 ozs (90 grams) of tamarind paste

Gently simmer the cream for 5 minutes with 3 ozs (90 grams) of the sugar and spices. Stir it constantly and do not let it boil. Pour the hot cream into the lightly whipped egg yolks and stir thoroughly to make a custard. Allow to cool.

Meanwhile, blend the tamarind paste with the remaining 1 oz (30 grams) of sugar and roll into little marble sized balls.

Line a tart pan or flan dish thinly with Paste Royal (recipe below), trimming off any excess by rolling over the top of the pan with a rolling pin. Chill for about 30 minutes until quite firm. Prick the pastry all over with the tip of a knife without piercing through to the pan, then line it with a round of crumpled greaseproof paper about two inches wider than the pan. Three quarters fill this with dried peas or rice and bake the pastry blind for 12 minutes in a preheated oven at 375°F (190°C). Remove the greaseproof paper and dried peas and cook for a further 5 minutes to dry out the base of the pastry case. Be careful not to brown it too much.

Arrange the little balls of tamarind paste evenly on the bottom of this case, or ‘coffin' and pour the custard over them. Let the oven cool to 300°F (150°) and bake the tort gently for a further 18-20 minutes, or until the custard is just set.

If you cannot get hold of tamarinds, Carter tells us that we can also use prunes, though this makes a tort of quite different character.

Tort du Moy

Adapted from a recipe in an anonymous 1753 manuscript in Ivan Day's collection

8 ozs (250 grams) Paste Royal

4 ozs (125 grams) sugar

1 pint (600 mls) double cream

1 cinnamon stick

1 blade of mace

5 egg yolks

1 tablespoon orange flower water

3 ozs (90 grams) crumbled sponge biscuits

3 ozs (90 grams) beef bone marrow

1 oz (30 grams) candied orange peel

1 oz (30 grams) candied citron

Remove the marrow from the bones with the handle of a teaspoon and soak the pieces in some cold water for an hour or two to remove any blood.

Make custard with the cream, sugar, spices and egg yolks, as in the tamarind tort recipe. When the custard has cooled, remove the spices.

Line a tart pan with Paste Royal and bake it blind (as in the tamarind tort recipe).

Arrange the chopped-up candied peel on the base of the pastry case, cover this with the biscuit crumbs and sprinkle it with the orange flower water. Arrange little lumps of marrow on top of the biscuit and carefully pour the custard over this. Bake the tort in an oven at 300°F (150°) for 25 minutes.


Paste Royal for above tort recipes

A rich melt-in-the-mouth Georgian tart pastry as good as any French pâte sucrée . It is from Edward Kidder's Receipts in Pastry and Cookery (London: c.1720)

8 ozs (250 grams) plain flour

4 ozs (125 grams) chilled butter

2 ozs (60 grams) sugar

2 small eggs

Gently beat the butter on a lightly floured surface to make it soft and pliable and then cut it into small pieces. Sift the flour onto a board or worktop. Make a well in the middle and put the butter, eggs and sugar into this hollow. Lightly work together the eggs, butter and sugar with the fingertips of one hand. Let the flour at first naturally fall into the mixture and then gradually work it into the liquid ingredients by drawing it all in with a spatula or pastry scrapper.

When all the ingredients are roughly amalgamated, blend the mixture lightly by gently flattening a little at a time onto the worktop with the heel of your hand. Roll lightly into a ball and repeat this blending action once more. The pastry should be as soft as butter, but not sticky. Roll into a ball and put in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before using.

Fried Filbert Patties

This remarkable pastry is adapted from an anonymous 1677 Sussex manuscript in Ivan Day's collection. It is in fact a kind of deep fried mince pie . The authoress informs us that the filberts can be substituted with chestnuts or almonds.

The puff paste from the recipe below

2 ozs (60 grams) finely chopped filberts or hazelnuts

2 ozs (60 grams) chopped beef suet

2 ozs (60grams) currants

The finely minced yolks of 2 boiled eggs

2 ozs sugar

1 teaspoonful of ground cinnamon

A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

2 tablespoonfuls of rose water

Lard for deep-frying

A little icing sugar

Blend the dry ingredients thoroughly in a bowl and mix in the rosewater to make a smooth paste.

Roll out a sheet of puff paste quite thin and cut circles out of it with a two and a half inch (6 cm) fluted pastry cutter. Using a small pastry brush, lightly wet the edges of the pastry rounds with water. Roll a heaped teaspoonful of the nut mixture into a sausage shape and place it on the middle of each round. Do not be tempted to overfill them. Carefully fold one half of the pastry over the filling and firmly join the edges to create a miniature half-moon-shaped patty. Heat up the lard in a deep fryer and gently cook the patties, turning them every now and then. They will sink at first. They then float to the surface and gradually puff up. Remove them from the lard when they are a light golden brown on both sides. Drain them well on some kitchen paper. When dry, dust them with some sifted icing sugar. Serve warm.

Puff Paste for Fried Filbert Patties (c. 1677)

8 ozs (250 grams) plain flour

4 ozs (250 grams) chilled butter

4 fluid ozs (125 mls) chilled water

Sift the flour onto a worktop or marble slab. Make a well in the centre of the flour into which put 1 oz (30 grams) of the butter cut into small pieces and the water. Work together,as in the paste royal recipe, until the dough is only just mixed. Depending on the absorbency of the flour you may need a little more water. However, do not overwork it into a smooth paste. It should actually look quite rough. Put it in a plastic bag and allow it to rest in a refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Lightly flour the remaining butter and gently beat it with a rolling pin. Fold it double. Repeat this action until the butter is pliable, but not soft. Shape it into a 6-inch (15 cm) square and flour it lightly. Roll out the dough into a rectangle 18 x 6 inch (45 x 15 cm) rectangle. Place the square of butter diagonally onto the centre of the paste rectangle and draw the corners of the paste together like an envelope and pinch the edges together to seal them. Put the square of paste onto a well-floured surface with its seams facing down and roll it into an 18 x 6 inch (45 x 15 cm) rectangle again.

Fold the rectangle into three, rather like a letter, and gently seal the seams by pressing them lightly with the rolling pin. Turn this square one turn to the left (90°) and roll out again into an 18 x 6 inch (45 x 15 cm) rectangle. Repeat this action one more time and then put it into the refrigerator to rest for 30 minutes. Give the pastry six turns altogether and rest for at least another 30 minutes before using.

© Ivan Day 2004

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