This is a fiddly yet not overly complicated recipe. The fiddly bit comes from the fact that these little tartlets, and particularly the tartlet shells, are tiny and therefore not easy to work with. Furthermore, the daisy pattern that the pastry is cut into makes the little pastry shells very fragile. But do not be put off by this – they are very beautiful and entirely worth the extra trouble and fidgetiness. If cutting the pastry into daisy shapes is an unnecessarily complicated step that you don’t want to attempt, simply cut small pastry circles and line a small patty pan (a small muffin pan) to make much sturdier but far less complicated tartlet shells. These are ideal as part of petit fours with coffee to end a meal, but one could also make them slightly larger and serve them as mini tartlets at a tea.
Ingredients for at least 24 extra small tartlets:
For the pastry:
- 2 egg yolks
- 60 g cold (but not rock hard) butter, cubed
- 60 g castor sugar
120 g cake flour
- 200 g white chocolate, melted
For the crème patissière:
- 125 ml milk
- 20 g sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 heaped tablespoon cornflour
- Small pinch of salt
- 2,5 ml (½ teaspoon) vanilla extract or essence
- 15 ml (1 tablespoon) butter
- Around 24 to 30 papaya balls
- Edible flower petals
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the egg yolks, butter and castor sugar. Use a dinner fork to mash these ingredients together, without letting the butter melt. It should be a homogenous mass but should in no way become oily from melting butter, so work quickly. Add the flour and mix into the butter/yolk mixture. Don’t over work the mix at this point – if it becomes difficult to combine all the ingredients with the fork, it is totally acceptable to use your hands. Knead the dough lightly to achieve one combined mass of dough. Shape the mass into a ball and flatten it into a 5cm thick disk. Wrap in plastic and store in the fridge for a couple of hours until the pastry has sufficiently firmed up. The time needed for this to happen will depend on how cold the fridge is. Remove from the fridge and again mash the pastry together to make it slightly pliable, but under no circumstances should it become soft. Dust the work surface with flour and roll the pastry out to about 2,5 mm thickness. Cut out daisy patterns with a pastry cutter. Transfer the pastry cut-outs to an upturned half dome silicone mould, of which the size is somewhat smaller than a golf ball. Place in the deep-freeze to firm up completely. In the meantime, ensure that the shelf is in the middle of the oven and heat to 190 °C. When the oven is hot and the pastry is completely frozen, remove from the freezer and bake for around 10 to 15 minutes. The little shells should be sufficiently golden, but not deep brown. Remove from the oven and once they have slightly cooled, slip them off the mould onto a cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining pastry.
Once the tartlet shells are completely cold, either paint the inside of the shell, or dip them entirely (with the aid of kitchen tweezers) in melted white chocolate. Ensure that the chocolate provides just the thinnest coating layer.
In the meantime, make the crème patissière. Cream the sugar and egg yolk together until light in colour, and add the cornflour and salt. Warm the milk, and then add about 1/3 to the creamed yolk/sugar mix. Mix well and return this mixture to the remaining milk. Cook over very low heat, stirring all the time, until the mixture is thick and no trace of uncooked egg remains. Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the butter (which will melt into the custard) and the vanilla. Set aside to cool.
When you are ready to serve, pipe a small rosette of custard in the center of each tartlet and top with a papaya ball. Decorate with edible flower petals.