Thursday, May 28, 2009

Neenish Tart / What the recipe doesn't tell you

I've been spending a bit of time in the kitchen of late. I've got a bit more time on my hands than usual and keeping them busy is the way to go. So I've been concentrating on two things: pastry, and broths/soups.

Broth is something that my family makes really well, and it's really only a matter of supervision, not precision. It's just a matter of having the time. So I made a Beef and Vegetable Broth week before last. The great thing about a broth is you can use a cheap cut of meat that you usually wouldn't feed to the dogs, and because of the amount of time you spend cooking it, by the time you come to serve it, it's falling apart on the spoon. Plus, if you let it cool once or twice before serving, you can cut the fat content by skimming the skin off the top. Cheap and relatively healthy. Plus, most of the vegies used in it are fairly inexpensive. I used Parsnip, Potato, Carrot, Onion and Turnip. It worked well, cost about thirteen dollars to make and there was enough for at least half-a-dozen meals easy meals there.

Last week, for Jeremy's birthday I made Apple Pie. I'd never made it before - previously I'd stuck to Crumble and Strudel - so I stuck to the recipe. The top layer of pastry was perfect, but the bottom was fairly non-existant due to the consistency of the apple. It tasted good though. I wish I'd taken a photo, because it looked awesome before it was cut.

Yesterday, I made Neenish Tarts, because it's one of Jeremy's favourites. He's fairly fussy when it comes to desserts, and I thought it would be good to make one I hadn't done before.

My God. The fiddlines. First, I know I made things hard for myself by making the pastry myself, but I want to get the shortcrust/sweet pastry down before I start taking shortcuts and use pre-made cases. But the pastry was the easy part. Combine ingredients, put in case-tin, rest for fifteen. Cook for ten. Melt the jam, put in cases. Apart from the fact that I should have pricked the bases more than twice, easy:




The Mock Cream was not so easy. For a start, there were three different mixtures to it - a sugar/milk mixture, a gelatine/water mixture and a butter/vanilla mixture. Combining them, I realised that something was wrong with the recipe. I'd never made it before, so I stuck to the measurements more than I usually would, but all of the measurements that said Tablespoon seemed too large when I added them. Considering most of the Tablespoon measurements in the Mock Cream were liquid and it was being added to a butter mixture, that was an issue. It would not come together, no matter what I did. So I improvised a little and worked out what the sugar/butter to liquid ingredient ratio would need to be if the recipe WAS incorrect and added some more. It came together almost straight away. All in all, that part of the recipe took about fourty-five minutes. Rested for fifteen to allow the gelatine time to do it's thing:



Then came the icing. This is where things got very, very fiddly. It's an icing sugar/milk combo, with cocoa for the chocolate side. One problem I think the reicpe-makers didn't forsee - They're asking you to put melted, runny (and therefore HOT) icing on top of cream.

It took me about twenty minutes of cock-ups before I got something approaching a knack happening. I'd wait until the icing was almost too thick and cold to use, then do two or three really quickly. That was still too hot to prevent the icing sliding off the cream before it set, but by holding each one sideways as the icing looked like it was going to slide, I managed to get them to set properly:






How long did the entire process take? Well, I started at two thirty, and had just finished by ten-to-six. It's a fiddly, fiddly, process. The results were fairly good, but there are things the recipe just doesn't tell you:

* Change all liquid measurements in the Mock Cream to Teaspoons.
* Be prepared to spend an entire afternoon making twelve tarts.
* Use Pastry Cases, if for no other reason than home-made pastry cases are hard to get uniform.
* Put the cream under the jam, regardless of what the recipe says.
* Five minutes is nowhere near enough time for the jam to set. Try forty-five.

9 comments:

Jeremy said...

They are awesome though. Keri's cooking FTW!!11!!!

Bron said...

Hmmm. Yum yum yum. I LURVE neenish tarts!

nofuninpublic said...

My mouth is watering! Neenish tarts have been my favourite since I was a kid. :)

The Rarest Gem said...

My mother-in-law's Neenish Cakes

The other day I asked if my mum-in-law, Valerie Edwards, if she would pass the tradition of Christmas tarts to me. For years I have been eating the most delicious Neenish Cakes each year along with her Mince Pies.

This recipe was handed down from her mother to older sisters, Patty & Marjorie and to Valerie.

I hope you enjoy Mamma's Neenish Cakes as much as me.

Pastry
12 oz Flour (half plain and half self raising)
4 oz castor sugar or icing sugar
8 oz butter
1 egg

Set the oven at 180o C. Mix flour, sugar and butter together and then add 1 egg. Roll out about 3mm thick and cut to put into patty pan baking dish.

Cook for 10mins and let cool.

Filling
Cream
Good slug of Rum

Whip cream and rum until cream clings to the beaters and forms a peak. Fill the cases with cream.

Topping
Icing Sugar
Cocoa Powder
Butter
Hot Water

Mix icing sugar and butter add water to make a spreadable paste and put on half of the neenish cake. Add cocoa powder to the icing mix and a little water and put on the other half of the neenish cake.

Pauline said...

Hi I was trying to find out origin of Neenish tarts as we have an Ethnic dinner to do on Friday and I wanted to make my neenish tarts. I am British and for some reason thought they were British but says Australian so I can make them as I lived 20 years there, 7 in England and rest of time in New Zealand. I use the Edmonds recipe and love them but they are fiddly.
4ozs Butter 4 oz Sugar 1 tsp baking powder 1 egg Pinch of Salt and 8 oz flour
To make them go further use small size patty pan tin.
Cream butter and sugar, add egg and beat well. Mix in sifted dry ingredients. Knead well. Roll out and line patty tins prick and bake about 10 to 15 minutes at 350 deg F. When cold, fill with the following:-
Filling:
4 tablespoons Butter
4 tablespoons Sweetened condensed milk
4 tablespoons icing sugar
2 dessertspoons lemon juice
Soften butter, add sifted icing sugar, condensed milk and lemon juice. When set, ice half the top with white icing and half with chocolate icing.
Enjoy........

Jenny W said...

I use the same recipe as Puline and it's always extremely popular. Keri - it looks to me like you put too much jam in the tart - if i use jam I only put a tiny dob in the bottom and never bother with melting it first! The cream should be level with the top of the pastry case (not mounded like in your photo) and then the icing is easier to apply. I only use ordinary icing (not hot) which also makes it easier to apply. It sounds like you have a very complicated recipe!

Keri said...

Oh, for sure, Jenny. The recipe is pretty crazy. I'm going to have to try Pauline's recipe. Ive been pitting far less jam in and levelling off at my mother's suggestion, but it's still a complex recipe!

So when you say normal icing, which do you use? The icing is the bit I'm least happy with.

renee said...

Makes
12

Ingredients
225g (1 1/2 cups) plain flour
120g butter, chilled, cubed
1 egg yolk
2 tbs iced water
Plain flour, to dust
315g (1 cup) raspberry jam
Mock cream
80g (1/3 cup) caster sugar
1 tbs milk
1 tbs cold water
1 tbs boiling water
1/2 tsp powdered gelatine
100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla essence
Icing
230g (1 1/2 cups) icing sugar mixture
2 tbs milk
1 1/2 tbs cocoa powder

renee said...

Makes
12

Ingredients
225g (1 1/2 cups) plain flour
120g butter, chilled, cubed
1 egg yolk
2 tbs iced water
Plain flour, to dust
315g (1 cup) raspberry jam
Mock cream
80g (1/3 cup) caster sugar
1 tbs milk
1 tbs cold water
1 tbs boiling water
1/2 tsp powdered gelatine
100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla essence
Icing
230g (1 1/2 cups) icing sugar mixture
2 tbs milk
1 1/2 tbs cocoa powder