10 December 2018 | Ruby Bhogal
When it comes to food, I love nothing more than drawing inspiration from my heritage and looking to home to help bring a twist to classically British dishes and ingredients. Indian flavours and spices are fantastic to use not only in cooking, but also baking – something I am particularly fond of. With Christmas on the doorstep, I often crave lots of gorgeously warm, delicious comforting food so here I’ve combined a moreishly rich chocolate frangipane tart with melt in the mouth pears poached in a heavenly spiced masala chai. The sweet aromatic spices not only will fill your home with a comforting, indulgent aroma but you’ll find yourself stashing this recipe away for another time I assure you!
Quick, easy, fuss free and delicious, here is what you need to make 6 tartlets:
- Roll of sweet shortcrust pastry OR
- Ready-made tart cases
- 6 Pears - peeled
- 1500ml Water
- 700g Caster Sugar
- 1.5tsp of Schwartz Cinnamon Powder
- ½ Schwartz Cinnamon Stick
- 10 Schwartz cardamom pods crushed
- 10 Schwartz Cloves
- 1 Schwartz Star Anise
- 1 Vanilla Pod – deseeded
- 1 Bulb Stem Ginger – sliced
- 100g Unsalted Butter – softened at room temp
- 100g Caster Sugar
- 1 whole medium egg and 2 egg yolks
- 100g Ground Almonds
- 2tbsp Plain Flour
- 100g Dark Chocolate – melted (over 70%)
- ½ tsp Almond Extract
- Icing Sugar
Set the oven temperature to 175 Celcius Fan
If you are opting to not use the ready made tart cases, roll out the ready made shortcrust pastry to approx. 2.5mm thick. Using your tartlet tins as a guide, cut out circles of pastry and gently press into the tartlet cases. Prick the bottom of each lined case with a fork and place in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, place in some baking parchment and pour in some baking beans (or rice will also do the trick) and pop into the oven to blind bake. These will need approx. 15 mins.
Carefully remove the baking parchment and baking beans and place back into the oven to finish blind baking for a further 5 minutes. Once done, remove from oven and place on a cooking rack.
Lets get onto poaching some pears! Place all the ingredients (except the pears) into a large saucepan and place over a high heat. Ensure all sugar has dissolved and the water is at a boil, lower the heat to bring the sugar syrup to a simmer and place in the peeled pears.
Place a disc of baking parchment over the pears to trap the steam, and allow to gently poach for approx. 1 hour or until they are soft but still holding shape
Whilst the pears are poaching, place the butter and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer (or, if like me you only have a handheld electric whisk, place into a large bowl) and whisk until the mixture is pale, light and fluffy.
Gently include all eggs – one by one – ensuring each one has been fully mixed unto the mixture. IF your mixture looks like it is curdling, keep at it! This is usually a sign that either your ingredients were not all at the same temperature or you haven’t incorporated the eggs enough. IF the extra whisking still hasn’t saved the day, don’t fear – we are adding flour at the next stage which should hopefully solve the problem!
Now the eggs are fully mixed in, time to slowly pour in the melted chocolate and ground almonds and flour. Mix till fully combined and leave mixture to one side.
Carefully remove the pears from the pan and use a knife to level off the bottom (this will get them to stand up nice and straight in the tart!). Keep the sugar syrup mixture on boil, as we are going to use this delicious reduced syrup to drizzle on top of the tart at the end!
Into each cooled tart case, spoon a little bit of the chocolate frangipane mixture. Place a pear into each tart case and then either use a piping bag or a spoon to level the tart case off with more frangipane
Place onto a tray and pop back into the oven for 30 minutes
Once cooked, remove from oven and place onto a cooling rack. Lightly dust with icing sugar and drizzle lots of the masala chai sugar syrup on top before serving
Now I know Turkey tends to get a bit of a tough time for being bland, boring and tasteless and we all tend to only eat it at Christmas BUT low and behold, these spiced turkey burgers are going to blow your mind and taste buds! They are super easy to make, perfect to be made in advance and great for finger food for your guests at Christmas. The best thing about using turkey is that it is a lean meat and doesn’t hold much flavour (bear with me here) which means that when you do add in a few spices – it tastes phenomenal. I may be biased but there is a reason why Indian is the nations favourite takeaway. The depth of flavour you can achieve by combining a number of spices is brilliantly easy. Admittedly I have a penchant for everything TOO spicey, but these sliders are perfectly balanced and the tomato relish which goes alongside will take any edge off. As someone who loves trying different types of food and experimenting, I will always come back to using indian flavours in my cooking: reminds me of home, cooking with my mum and is guaranteed to always be a winner.
Fancy cooking up some sliders for your guests this Christmas? Well this is what you’re going to need to make 12 sliders:
- 500g lean turkey mince
- 1 whole medium egg
- 1.5 tsp Schwarz Ground Ginger
- 1tsp Schwarz Garam Masala
- ¾ tsp Schwarz Chilli Flakes
- 2 cloves garlic – finely chopped/finely grated
- ½ Red onion – finely diced
- Handful of fresh coriander – chopped (stalks included!)
- Pinch of Sea Salt and Black Pepper
- Splash of Olive Oil
- ½ red onion – finely diced
- 250g ripened vine tomatoes – cut in half
- 1 clove of garlic – finely chopped/grated
- Splash of balsamic vinegar
- Pinch of Sea Salt and Black Pepper
- Mini brioche buns/slider buns
- Extra Toppings/Condiments of your choice
The best thing about the sliders is that they are perfect for preparing in advance. The mixture ideally needs to marinate overnight, but there is nothing stopping you making this way in advance, freezing the burgers and popping straight into the oven for whenever needed. Great snack material for last minute guests or parties!
Let’s get cracking! Into a bowl, place in all the ingredients for the sliders. If you aren’t squeamish, go in with your hands (or if you prefer, a fork) and mix it all together. You really want to make sure all the ingredients are fully incorporated and the spices have worked their way through the meat. Once that is done, cover the bowl with some clingfilm and pop into the fridge to marinate
Set the oven temperature to 180 celcius fan
Once its been left to soak up all the flavours, shape the meat into 12 equal baby burgers. They may look small but the idea is they are only little bites/snack food, which leaves plenty of room for the main course! If you are planning to use them at a later date, now’s the time to pop them into the freezer.
Otherwise, place the burgers onto a baking rack and place into the oven for approx. 20 minutes. Make sure you turn them over halfway through. The best way to tell whether the burgers are thoroughly cooked is to use a thermometer probe – turkey is good to eat once its hit between 65-70 degrees.
Whilst the burgers are cooking, you can get on with the quick and easy tomato relish. Pop the onion into a pan with a glug of olive oil. Let the onions sweat before adding in the garlic, followed by the chopped tomatoes. Add in a splash of balsamic vinegar, a pinch of salt and a crack of black pepper. Let the mixture reduce over a high heat and make sure you stir every so often. The relish will be made in the same time your burgers are cooked so now is the best time to get together your burger buns, condiments and anything else you are adding to the sliders
When the burgers have been cooked and the relish has reduced, either serve up in the buns or leave out as a little self-service station. Guests can pick and choose what they want to add in for a fun element or do the work for them and let them gobble away!