Saturday, 4 October 2014

Jam-filled tartlets

Jam-filled tartlets

I have one - frankly speaking several - notebook where I take note of recipes I want to try (and after I make one of them, the relative page becomes full of comments: my variations / substitutions, cooking tips and, of course, tasting notes). Many of them are recipes that I specifically search for, but there are some that I stumble upon by chance while randomly surfing the web or flipping through magazines or cookbooks or watching TV cooking shows. And these recipes are usually written down in one go; being inspired by the curiosity or the beautiful picture or by the fact that I have never made something similar, and paying attention not to miss any ingredient or preparation step, I sometimes do not take into great consideration the quantity and proportion of the various ingredient the recipe calls for. And so, when I go through one of my notebooks in search for inspiration, and read more carefully what I wrote, I find recipes (often for desserts) requiring quantities of certain ingredients that, in my opinion, cannot be part of  a as-healthy-as-possible diet (that is the kind of diet which drives me daily, first while shopping at the supermarket/market, then when preparing meals): amounts of butter and/or so exaggerate quantities of sugar requiring a detoxifying period to get back to normal values of cholesterol and glycemia. Don't think that I am obsessed with healthy food or that I banned some ingredients (actually I avoid to buy, use or eat some things for healthy reason but this is not the case of butter and sugar that, to me, are fundamental ingredients, especially when making sweets and baked goods); but, when it's too much...
Well, thanks to this deeper analysis I can eliminate recipes that for sure I will never make; but there are recipes that, even if a little "too rich", for some reason are still inspiring me, and remain in the list of the recipes to try. It is the case of these small cakes, that I have seen in the deliaonline website.

Jam-filled tartlets
When I read the recipe I was attracted by the combination of a shortbread-like pastry dough, baked in muffins tin, and the jam filling; but I had never made them yet, a little impressed by a quantity of butter almost equal to that of flour (as actually it should be in a shortbread, which is delicious just for its buttery texture). Few days ago I was looking for something to prepare for the morning breakfast; since my son adores jam, these tartlets looked perfect. But that butter...was to much. I had the idea of swapping  part of the butter for cream cheese (to be precise I used Labneh) as an alternative, lighter ingredient: and it worked pretty well. Of course the pastry is not as friable and crumbly as if were made using all butter, but it is anyway very pleasant and with a light, slightly sour taste which perfectly balances the sweetness of the jam filling, I think that these tartlets are worth trying in this light version, especially if they are intended for kids or for family breakfast or snack; the original, buttery version can be reserved for more "special" occasions, like an afternoon tea with friends, a weekend brunch or a buffet party.
Jam-filled tartlets

Jam-filled tartlets
inspired by a deliaonline recipe
makes 8 individual cakes (standard muffin size)
70 g butter softened
100 g cream cheese (I used Labneh) 1
50 g icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
150 g self-raising flour
40 g corn flour
plumes or cherry jam (or any other)
extra icing sugar (to dust)

Pre-heat the oven to 180°. Line muffin cups with muffin liners (or grease and flour).
Sift together the self-raising flour and corn flour.
Using a whisk or a spatula beat the butter, icing sugar and vanilla extract together with until very soft and creamy and then stir in the powders  to form a soft paste.
Then divide the mixture between the muffin cups . Using the back of a teaspoon dipped briefly in water or with humid fingertips, make a space in the centre of each one to about two thirds of the way down.
Bake the cakes in the centre - rack for about 20 minutes until golden brown – they will still be slightly soft in the centre. Cool in the tins for 15 minutes then fill the centre of each tartlet with jam.
Before serving sift a light dusting of icing sugar over the top of each cake; don't worry if the sugar covers the jam, it will soon be absorbed so the center will turn red again.
They keep well at room temperature for about two days.
1 For the original version, use an additional 100 g butter instead of cream cheese

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