Neenish Tarts are not for the faint hearted or the time poor!! But they are so wonderfully delicious, that when I tasted one I forgot how long it took to make them. They are worth the extra time and effort for a special occasion.
There are many variations, but I stuck more or less to the AWW version, but we always had jam in ours so I put jam in the base of mine. I also used Vanilla Essence and not a vanilla pod or extract, just to try and be true to the recipe.
The tin to use is called a dome patty tray, but I know it as a patty pan tray. It has 12 almost hemispherical indentations.
Do not be put off by anyone mentioning Mock Cream. Some recipes cleverly call it Vanilla Cream, but it is made of butter, milk, vanilla, sugar, water and gelatine: all very user friendly ingredients. My Cream refused to mix and was just two discrete parts, as it was too cold inside for the butter to properly assimilate the other liquid. I did not panic, I simply warmed the base of the bowl over hot water and whisked the mixture by hand till it started to come together. Then back into the mix master and it whipped up perfectly.
Icing the two halves proved easier when I drew a knife across the half way mark to use as a guide. I have seen some people use squeezy bottles to ice the tarts. I have had both Pink/White and Chocolate/White icing, so I made both.
I found I was multi-tasking, and moving from one part of the recipe to another while waiting, so I have written the process I followed, which seemed logical to me at least. Some of my pictures are a bit fuzzy today because I was tired when I was making these, so please excuse, and point out, any errors!!
NB Our Australian tablespoon is 4 teaspoons, while the UK and USA decided upon 3 teaspoons.
Neenish Tarts makes 24
- 1 1/2 cups plain flour
- 100g butter, cubed
- 1 egg yolk
- 2-3 tbspn lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tbspn milk
- 1/4 cup caster sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 tspn powdered gelatine
- 1 1/2 tbspn water, extra
- 180g unsalted butter
- 1 tspn vanilla essence
- 1 1/2 cups pure icing sugar, sifted
- 2 tbspn milk
- 1/2 tspn vanilla essence
- 1/1/2 tbspn cocoa
- 1 1/2 tspn milk, extra
- pink food colouring, one drop
Step 1: Start the Vanilla Cream but putting the milk, sugar and 1/4 cup of water in a saucepan over a low heat and stir without boiling until the sugar is dissolved. Meanwhile sprinkle the gelatine over the extra water and stir. When all the sugar is dissolved, tip the gelatine mixture into the pan, stir till well combined and pour into a bowl and cool on the bench.
Step 2: Begin making the pastry. Rub the butter into the flour until there are no lumps at all, make a well in the centre and add the egg yolk and about half the lemon juice. Mix with a fork, adding more lemon juice if needed, then bring together by hand. Knead till smooth on a floured board and then wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Step 3: Back to the Vanilla Cream - cream the butter and vanilla until it is as pale and white as possible. Gradually pour in the cooled gelatine mixture and continue to whip until it is light and fluffy and looks like whipped cream. Cover and refrigerate.
Step 4: Grease the trays, if necessary, and preheat the oven to 180*C. Roll out the dough to be quite thin. The recipe says 3mm, but I found a little thinner was better. Dock the pastry all over with a fork and then cut out 7cm diameter circles.
Press into the tin to fit the shape and bake for 12 minutes turning the tray half way through, or until the base of the pastries is golden brown. Mine took 16 minutes. Cool on a rack.
Step 5: Make the icing by mixing the sifted icing sugar with the milk and vanilla essence. Beat till smooth, then divide between 2 or 3 heatproof containers. I used my measuring cups and left half of the icing plain white. To another quarter I added the cocoa and the extra milk, and then a drop of pink food colouring to the other quarter. I put the little cups into a dish and poured some almost boiling water around them, to keep the icing nice and runny. If it does set on top, just mix well.
Step 6: Heat the jam for 30 seconds in the microwave, cool slightly and then spoon half a teaspoon or so into the base of each tart. Leave for 5 minutes to set.
Step 7: Fill each tart with the Vanilla Cream and level off the top with a spatula or knife. I found the best way to fill them was to use a dessert spoon to scoop up some of the Cream, and then turn the spoon upside down and scrape the Cream off into the tart case.
Step 8: Mark the half way line across each tart and then ice half with the white icing. I found it easiest to use a teaspoon and to run a line of icing beside the centre line, easing it right to the line, and then spreading the icing back towards the edge. It sets quite quickly. I used a hot knife to clean up the edges. When it is set, ice the other half in the same way with the coloured icing. Again, use a hot knife to even out the edges and the centre.
FInally, your Neenish Tarts are ready to eat. They will benefit from an hour or so in the fridge. They will keep, in an airtight container, in the fridge for 2-3 days. If they last that long. Mine won't!!!