Sunday, September 16, 2018

Egyptian Fruit Tartlets

These Egyptian Fruit Tartlets are a variation on my favourite fig newton recipe, and are perfectly sized for a two bite treat!


Egyptian Fruit Tartlets

Well, I'm more or less back to everything after this busy, busy Summer! Apologies to those of you who enjoy my writing but I needed to take the break to deal with both school and personal commitments. At any rate, I will do my best to at least get one post a week out, and what better way to start than with these delicious tartlets?

These tartlets are different from the standard pastry shell variety in a couple of ways. First, the casing is more of a shortbread style of dough, relatively soft and pliable. Second, the fruit is in a paste form, rather than fresh or "pie filling" format. The filling has to be my favourite part of the whole treat, since it is almost identical to the filling I use for date squares. My inspiration for these tarts came from the Middle Eastern pastry maamoul, and since I needed to make a dessert for one of the school plays that kept to the Arabian / Egyptian / etc theme it seemed to fit the bill nicely. To keep the filling from being super sweet, and since a few of the kids hate dates (I can't believe it, they are nature's candy!), I added some dried figs which lent a delicate texture and floral note. Those of you who have been following me know I love figs, and especially fig newtons, so I could definitely polish the spread off with a spoon.


I mentioned it earlier but the dough is very soft, even after chilling. I didn't want to add too much flour at the onset and had nothing but a paste on my hands, but I gradually added flour until I got a shortbread dough texture. for me, 27 oz worked well, plus the flour I dusted with when rolling. You may also need to tamp down the middle of the shells after baking to keep the depression intact. It's all worth it - I promise! While the recipe makes a fair amount of tartlets, it does scale well, and you can freeze leftovers as well without issue.

Egyptian Fruit Tartlets
Makes ~48
Dough
18 oz shortening
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tbsp orange flower water
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
¾ tsp salt
27 oz flour (white, whole wheat or a mix)

Filling
34 oz dates, pitted, roughly chopped
7 oz dried figs, roughly chopped
2 cups water
½ tsp orange extract
1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Mix together the shortening, sugar, orange flower water, cinnamon and salt until smooth.
  2. Add the flour and mix gently until the dough is cohesive. Add more flour if needed to make a soft but roll-able dough.
  3. Shape the dough into a 1"-thick disk, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  4. Combine the dates, figs and water in a pot and cook until the fruit breaks down into a paste.
  5. Remove from heat, stir in the extracts and puree with an immersion blender.
  6. Let cool, then spoon into a piping bag and set aside.
  7. Heat the oven to 350F
  8. Working with half the dough at a time, roll into a thin sheet and cut into circles. Fit into a greased mini-muffin tin.
  9. Pipe the date filling into the centre of each tart shell.
  10. Bake tarts for 20-25 minutes, until the pastry is browned and the filling is set.