You will need
For the sweet pastry:
150g unsalted butter, softened
90g caster sugar
½ large egg, beaten
200g plain flour
50g ground almonds
Pinch of salt
For the frangipan:
115g unsalted butter, softened
115g caster sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp almond extract
1 medium egg
110g ground almonds
40g self-raising flour
Pinch of salt
For the filling:
150g good-quality Morello cherry jam
For the decoration:
2 tbsp apricot jam, sieved
500g liquid fondant
1 tsp glucose
A small amount of simple sugar syrup
A small amount of sugar paste
A small amount of royal icing
Pink, red, green and brown food colour
You will also need:
Basic baking kit
20 fluted mini tart tins
Plastic piping bag
Small leaf cutter
Paper piping bags
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/Gas mark 4.
2. To make the sweet pastry, place the butter and caster sugar in a mixing bowl and cream together until just combined: do not make it too fluffy. Gradually add the beaten egg to the mixture.
3. Sift the flour, almonds and salt into a separate bowl. Add in batches to the butter mixture until just combined. Wrap the dough in cling film and chill for at least one hour.
4. To make the frangipan, beat the butter, sugar, lemon zest and almond extract until pale and fluffy. Continue whisking and slowly add the egg.
5. Sift the almonds, flour and salt into a separate bowl. Add in batches to the butter mix until just combined.
6. To assemble the tarts, roll out the pastry to a thickness of two to three millimeters. Place it into lightly greased tart tins. Fill the bottoms of the cases with one teaspoon of cherry jam. Chill for 30 minutes.
7. Place the frangipan into a piping bag and fill the tart cases to just below the top edge. Make sure you leave a little room at the top as the frangipan will expand during baking.
8. Bake in a preheated oven for about 15–20 minutes, until the tops are brown and the frangipan is cooked through. Remove the tarts from the tins while still warm and let cool.
9. To decorate: Once cool, heat the apricot jam until it is smooth and runny. Brush the jam thinly over the tops of the tarts and leave to set.
10. Heat the fondant in a small saucepan over a medium heat, but be careful not to let it boil. It should have a dipping temperature of approximately 48–52°C and a thick but runny pouring consistency. Should the consistency be too thick at the correct temperature, dilute it with a little bit of sugar syrup.
11. Add the glucose and the pink food colour to make a soft pink shade. Place the fondant into a deep bowl that will allow for dipping.
12. Pick one tart up at a time and hold it upside down, dipping it into the hot fondant up to the fluted edge of the tart shell. Lift out and spin it fast to let the excess fondant drip off and leave to set.
13. If the first dip is not perfect, double dip it once the first layer has set. Make sure that your fondant is always hot and runny when dipping and reheat from time to time as required.
14. Mix two thirds of the sugar paste with the red food colouring to create a cherry red shade. Shape into small equal-sized balls with your hands, making two balls per tart.
15. Mix the last third of sugar paste with green food colouring and using a small rolling pin, roll the paste out on a surface dusted with icing sugar until one to two millimeters thick. Cut out small leaf shapes and score the centre with the back of a small kitchen knife.
16. Mix a small amount of the royal icing with brown food colour to a soft-peak consistency. Fill a paper piping bag with the brown icing. Snip a small tip off the end of the bag and pipe the cherry stems onto the tarts. Stick the cherries and leaves on top using the remaining brown icing.
Recipe, Boutique Baking by Peggy Porschen (Quadrille)