What do you do when a chocolate-mad friend comes round for tea and asks "what's for pudding", just as you're about to serve up the main course. Pudding? You wanted pudding? Hmm....so I had some chocolate in the cupboard that he'd stored after coming over for Shrove Tuesday, and announcing he was giving up chocolate for Lent. The chocolate was just a Mars bar and a Fudge bar - probably not a satisfactory pudding really, and not really something I'd created (I am starting to get the reputation of being a baker...so a bit of a cop out!)
So I had a quick rummage in the fridge, and found some almost out of date ready-rolled short crust pastry. Hmm...what could we make with that? We'd previously been looking through my "small" collection of cook books, looking at tarts and pastries and goodness knows what else (playing the pick a number and I'll make it game...more about that later), so tarts? That's an option! I didn't really have much in the cupboard to put in it, but I found cherry and vanilla jam, strawberry jam (discounted due to the extra life form growing in the jar), honey-roasted peanut butter, Fluff TM (other marshmallow products are available, but not in my kitchen cupboards) and Nutella (apparently there are also other chocolate based products, but I've not used them).
So, to create! We discounted the BIG flan dish, because suspected the amount of jam needed would exceed the amount of jam left in the nice jar, but also that amount of jam would just get stupidly hot when we bake it up? Would I need to use baking beans and blind bake the pastry? I've never done this and so possibly a step too far for a speedy pudding. A further rummage in my baking drawers and I found a large clean Yorkshire pudding tin, and a smaller bun tin that was sadly looking a bit worse for wear with baked on Yorkshire pudding batter and rust - hmm I think I'm using my tins the wrong way round! Anyway, going with the easiest option (i.e. the clean tin) seemed the best bet - so now to find a cutter to get the right size circles for the tin. Another quick rummage in my baking drawers (they're big drawers you know!) and I found a pastry cutter, but it was barely big enough for the small bun tin, that was never going to work for the Yorkshire pudding tin. So looking around mugs, glasses, ooh and a plastic food container lid - perfect fit!
You can see my friend in the background looking through the good home-keeping book for cooking information, it's a fab black and white book from my mum's collection.
So the little pastry cases, tarts are sitting in the tin and we have to stab them with a form (ok, not quite the wording in the book but means the same thing).
We then got to introduce our experimental filling. My friend, the chocolate-mad one, was actually pushing to not try the Nutella thinking it wouldn't work, so two tarts were filled with the jam (just a thin layer), and then two experimental tarts, one with the honey-roasted peanut butter with jam and then Nutella with a dollop of jam on top. Proper experimental crazy tarts!
Stuck in the oven, while we ate the main course (if you're interested, chicken with leeky and cheese sauce, with rice and garlic bread).
10-12 mins in the oven, beeper going off as we finish the last mouthful, and the end result was incredibly yummy tarts that I will definitely definitely be making again. The peanut butter and jam could have done with a bit more ja, but baked up it was a lovely gooey texture. The two jam ones were very sweet, may be a spot of lemon juice in the jam mix to take the edge off? The Nutella and jam was by far the best. The Nutella was left over from Shrove Tuesday (noticing a theme with chocolate left over from Shrove Tuesday?), and to be fair it was a bit hard and wouldn't spread easily into the tarts, but as the jam and the chocolate melded together in the oven it softened and just became a lovely mix of flavours, so I really want to try that one again. I have more pastry left over, so may be that's the plan for tomorrow eve?
Interested to know if anyone else has tried making any experimental crazy tarts? What flavours/fillings do you want to try?