Pascale's kitchen: Tantalizing tartlets 

This week, for all my readers who requested simple-to-prepare – yet fancy – desserts.

 NO-BAKE FRUIT AND CREAM TARTLETS (photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
NO-BAKE FRUIT AND CREAM TARTLETS
(photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

I’m trying to think of a week when I didn’t make dessert for Shabbat. There isn’t; no matter how tired or busy I am, I always manage to prepare something sweet for Shabbat; it’s what keeps me anchored throughout the week.

When I happen to have a lot of time on a Friday, and I have the headspace to prepare something really special, I go all out with dessert. And on weeks when I don’t have much time, I make simple cakes that require just one spoon and one bowl. On hot summer days, I like to make cold cream cakes that don’t require any baking. The common factor in all of these cakes, though, is they all look absolutely stunning.

This week, I received a number of requests from readers to provide recipes for desserts that are super-easy to prepare. “Pascale, please don’t post any more complicated recipes for yeast cakes for Shabbat,” one reader wrote me. “Bring us a recipe that is easy, fast, looks fantastic and tastes great.”

As always, I try to comply with all my readers’ requests. To that end, below you will find three recipes for tartlets that are perfect for occasions when you want something a little fancy, but don’t have the time or the inclination to follow a complicated recipe. You can buy ready-made pastry dough at a baking shop and store them in your freezer until you’re ready to use them. If you’re using pastry dough, all you have to do is defrost it, roll it out on a flat surface, add your favorite filling and put it in the oven to bake.

Alternatively, you can buy prebaked pie crusts, which will save you time. Then, all that’s left to do is add a rich filling, such as custard or cream, and then add a layer of icing or toppings.

This week, for all my readers who requested simple-to-prepare – yet fancy – desserts, I’m bringing you three recipes that call for prebaked tartlets that you can purchase and store in your freezer. Each recipe has a different type of filling, so you can pick whichever one is the most appealing to you. I used fresh grapes and plums in one of the recipes, but you are welcome to use whichever fruits happen to be in season when you make the tartlets.

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NO-BAKE FRUIT AND CREAM TARTLETS

Makes 10-12 mini tartlets.

10-12 store-bought tartlet shells

Filling:1 container (250 ml.) 38% whipping cream2 Tbsp. powdered sugar150 gr. cream cheese4 Tbsp. instant pudding powder¼ cup milk2 drops vanilla extract

Toppings:½ cup candied nuts, crushed into small pieces2 plums, cut into small pieces10 grapes, halvedBlueberriesFresh mint leaves

Add the cream, powdered sugar, cream cheese and instant pudding to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whipping attachment. Whip the mixture on high speed until it thickens.

Transfer the cream to a pastry bag fitted with a star tip. Store the cream in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. Squeeze the bag and cover the tartlets with cream. Then, adorn with the plums, grapes, blueberries and mint leaves. Sprinkle candied nuts on top. Serve cold.

Level of difficulty: Easy.Time: 20-30 minutes.Status: Dairy.

 MINI CHOCOLATE TARTLETS (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN) MINI CHOCOLATE TARTLETS (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

MINI CHOCOLATE TARTLETS

Makes 8-10 mini tartlets.

8-10 mini store-bought tartlet shells

Filling:1 large egg2 Tbsp. powdered sugar125 gr. bittersweet chocolate75 gr. butter2 drops vanilla extractPinch of salt

Icing:¼ container of sweet creamPinch of salt75 gr. bittersweet chocolate1 Tbsp. chocolate liqueur

Toppings:½ cup apricot jam, diluted with 2 Tbsp. water1 cup candied nuts, crushed into small pieces½ cup brown and white chocolate pearls

To prepare the filling, using an electric mixer, whip the egg with the powdered sugar for 5 minutes until it is light and fluffy.

Add the chocolate, butter and salt to a pot and melt over a low flame. Let the mixture cool and then add it to the egg mixture and mix until smooth. Transfer the filling to a pastry bag and cut off the corner. Squeeze the filling onto the tartlets and gently flatten. Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 180° for 14-17 minutes. Make sure not to overbake the tartlets.

To prepare the icing, heat the cream and salt in a pot, then add the chocolate and stir until melted. Alternatively, you can make a simpler icing by heating the chocolate and adding 1 tablespoon of oil.

Brush the outside of the tartlets with the jam. Place the candied nuts in a bowl and roll the tartlets in the nuts so that the nuts stick on to the parts covered with jam.

Let the icing cool and then spread it on the tartlets. Top with the chocolate pearls.

Level of difficulty: Easy.Time: 30 minutes.Status: Dairy.

 LEMON MERINGUE TARTLETS (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN) LEMON MERINGUE TARTLETS (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

LEMON MERINGUE TARTLETS

Makes 10-12 mini tartlets.

10-12 store-bought tartlet shells

Filling:100 ml lemon juice, strained80 gr. sugar2 eggs100 gr. butter or margarine, cut into cubes

Meringue:1 white from a large egg, at room temperaturePinch of salt100 gr. (1/2 cup) sugar2 Tbsp. waterToppings: ½ cup blueberries      1-2 limes, sliced thinlyFresh mint leaves

To prepare the lemon filling, mix the lemon juice in a pot with the sugar. Add the eggs and mix. Heat over a low flame and mix constantly until mixture is thick and smooth.

Remove the pot from the flame and pour into a bowl. Add the butter gradually while mixing with an immersion blender until mixture is smooth and fluffy.

Add a bit of lemon cream to the tartlets and gently flatten. Place in the fridge for 2 or 3 hours until the cream cools and sets.

To prepare the meringue, add the egg white and salt to the bowl of an electric mixer.

Add the sugar and water to a medium size pot and mix. Bring to a boil over a high flame. Cook the syrup until it reaches 118°, then turn off the flame.

Whip the egg white on medium speed. Then, turn up to high speed and slowly pour the syrup into the egg mixture while mixing. Continue whipping until the meringue forms stiff peaks.

Transfer the meringue to a pastry bag with a star tip and squeeze out onto the lemon cream tartlets. Using a lighter, lightly sear the meringue. Adorn with blueberries, lime slices and mint leaves.

Level of difficulty: Easy-Medium.Time: 30 minutes + 3 hours in the fridge.Status: Dairy (or pareve if you used margarine).

Translated by Hannah Hochner.