I was browsing baking books at Kinokuniya yesterday when I overheard two ladies discussing the instructions on a recipe. They were wondering why the author asked for the cupcake pan to be rotated halfway through the baking time. With the answer in mind, I explained to them the rationale for doing so.
After a brief chat with them, I got to know that they just started out baking. Out of goodwill, I recommended that they do some readup to prepare themselves well and referred them to baking sites such as baking911 and joy of baking. This incident reminded me of the time when I first started out as a self-taught baker. There was like tons of stuff to read up on and I wished I had a reliable source of help to turn to. Hope the two ladies will have lots of fun and joy embarking on their baking journey, perhaps even finding their passion in the midst of doing so.
Its been a while since I made any tarts (pineapple tarts excluded). I have been itching to try out recipes from one of my tart books. I love to munch on cream cheese tarts from bakeries and have always wanted to make them ever since I started baking. The chance came when I came across a recipe for blueberry cream cheese tarts. Tweaked the recipe a little and it came out nutella cream cheese tarts instead.
Originally, the recipe asked for milk powder. I didn't like the creamy taste of it and hence omitted them in the recipe below. Taste wise, they are not too shabby. I would have preferred the fillings to be firmer though, similar to cream cheese tarts from local bakeries.
Nutella Cream Cheese Tarts (recipe adapted from In the Mood for Pastries & Tarts by Alan Ooi)
Serving size: 12 3-inch tartsTaste and texture: Creamy-cheesey with crumbly tart crust
Equipment and materials:
1) Flour sieve
2) Measuring spoon set
3) Mixing bowl/s
4) Wire rack
6) Pastry blender (optional)
8) 3-inch individual tart tins
Sweet Short Crust Pastry:
210g plain flour
115g chilled unsalted butter, cubed
1/4 tsp salt
4 tbs icing sugar
2 1/2 tbs cold water
Cream Cheese Filling:
250g cream cheese
50g icing sugar
50g whole eggs
about 4 tbs Nutella
Making the sweet short crust pastry:
Mixing dry ingredients - In a mixing bowl, sift in flour, icing sugar and salt. Whisk with a wire whisk to distribute ingredients evenly.
Forming the pastry - Cut butter into flour with a pastry blender until coarse flour coated crumbs are formed. Alternatively, rub the cubed butter into the flour with your clean hands to obtain coarse flour coated crumbs. Stir in cold water and mix with a fork to moisten the crumbs.
Gather the crumbs and knead briefly and gently enough so that crumbs come together to form a dough. Wrap dough with clingfilm and chill dough for at least 30 minutes.
Lining tart tins - Weigh the dough and divide it into 12 equal portions. Press each portion of dough evenly into individual 3-inch tart tins. Chilled dough-lined tart tins for 20 minutes.
Baking the tart crusts - Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Bake tart dough for about 15 -20 minutes or until tart crusts are lightly browned. Allow tarts to cool slightly in tart tins before removing them to cool completely on a wire rack.
Assembling the tarts:
Making the cream cheese filling - In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, icing sugar and butter until creamy and smooth. Add in egg/s beat well to combine.
Filling and baking tart crusts - Spoon cream cheese filling onto cooled tart crusts. Drop 1/2 tsp nutella onto the cream cheese filling of each tart and use a tooth pick to create swirls. Bake tarts for 15-20 minutes at 180 degrees C. Allow tarts to cool completely on a wire rack.
1) The cream cheese filling is softly set after 15-20minutes of baking. For a firmer custard, either bake the tarts longer or chill the tarts.
2) My tart crusts are are pale creamy in colour as I did not bake long them enough, and probably due to the milk powder.
3) Use blueberry jam/ pie filling in place of nutella to make blueberry cream cheese tarts.
4) Tarts may shrink a little after baking.
5) Avoid over-kneading the dough of you may end up with tough crusts.