La Festa al Fresco, a celebration of fresh summer (or winter) ingredients is the brainchild of Ivonne from Cream Puffs in Venice and Lis of La Mia Cucina.
It's a good way for those of us in the southern hemisphere to say good-bye to winter and welcome the return of spring.
For the fresh ingredient I'll be using some seasonal Rhubarb and in fact I'll be putting to use the Rhubarb, Apple and Vanilla Jam I made a few weeks back as a filling for some adorable meringue topped tartlets. The tarts are based on an almond pastry that comes from Sophie Grigson - it's wonderfully crisp and melts in your mouth, a bit like an almond shortbread.
Rhubarb Meringue Tartlets
75 grams unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
55 grams caster sugar
2 egg yolks
50 grams ground almonds
140 grams plain flour
2 egg whites
55 grams caster sugar
Rhubarb, Apple & Vanilla Jam, or your favourite jam
Make the pastry:
In a food processor, place the butter and sugar and process until mixed through. Add the egg yolks one at a time - you may need to scrap down the sides of the processor to ensure an even mix. Add the almonds followed by the flour and process until comes together into a ball.
For this recipe I'll be making 12 small tartlets.
Place the dough onto a board and roll to form a cylinder and cut into 12 even slices. Cover with plastic and place in the fridge for an hour to harden slightly.
While you wait, prepare the tartlet cases.
Thoroughly butter and flour - I like to use cool, melted butter and plain flour. It's most important that you are generous with the butter to ensure the pastry won't stick.
Make the cases:
Take a pastry slice and push it out using your palm until it's a little bit larger than your tart case - this is really soft dough and is quite forgiving. If it rips you can just patch it up with extra pastry. Place it into the case and mould it into shape.
Cover each case with baking paper filled with pie weights and cook in a preheated 180°/350°F for 10 minutes before removing paper & weights - continue to cook for another 5-10 minutes until the pastry is golden and cooked through.
Cool slightly before removing cases.
Make the Meringue:
Place the egg-whites into a clean dry bowl and whisk until they form a stiff peak - whisk in the sugar, a tablespoon at time, continue until the mixture is thick and glossy.
Assemble the Tarts:
Place a spoonful of jam into the tarts and then pipe over with meringue.
Return to the oven and cook until the meringue has lightly browned - keep a close eye as the meringue can turn quickly.
Place on wire racks to cool slightly before serving.
Under the fluffy clouds of meringue lies a sweet core of rhubarb jam, cradled in a thick pastry case.
A perfect treat to enjoy at the end of another long day.
Tagged with La Festa al Fresco