Baking with ginger immediately triggers thoughts of Christmas and smells of warm gingerbread filling the house, but winter or not, I’ve recently been craving that fiery tang. This is a fresher take on ginger baking; the idea for these zesty little babies came to me all at once like a divine intervention, and I have to say the contrast as your teeth pass through the gloriously thick, creamy topping and into the chewy ginger filling is indeed heaven-sent. You’re welcome.
For the sweet shortcrust pastry
- 250g plain flour
- 75g margarine, well chilled
- 50g butter, well chilled
- 50g icing sugar
- Zest of 1/2 lemon
- 1 egg
- Dash vanilla extract
- Dash milk
For the ginger filling
- Juice 1/2 lemon
- Pinch lemon zest
- 2 heaped tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
- 1 piece stem ginger, chopped finely
- 100g sugar
- 2 egg yolks + 1 egg
- Heaped tablespoon plain flour
- Pinch tumeric
For the topping
- 250g full fat cream cheese
- 100ml double cream
- 50g icing sugar
- Tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
Method – the pastry:
- Sift the flour and icing sugar into a bowl. Cut up the fat into cubes and add in. Work into the flour with your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Have your hands as cold as possible and work quickly. Stir in the zest. Now add in the egg and a small dash of milk, and mix with a knife to bring it together into a dough. Add more milk if required, until all the dry mix is incorporated (but the dough should not be wet). Sprinkle it with a bit of flour, wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for 20 minutes.
- Prepare your tart tins by oiling them. Dust a worktop well with flour.
- After 20 mins, roll the dough out on the surface to about 5mm thickness. Cutting off a piece at a time, gently lay the dough into the tart tins and ease it into the grooves. Cut off any excess pastry by pressing it against the top of the tins. Prick the bases with a fork. When all the tins are lined with the pastry, place in the freezer for a further 20 mins. Preheat the oven to 180º.
- Line each pastry case with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans, or rice if you don’t have any. Blind bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven. Remove the paper and beans, brush each case with a little egg yolk, and place back into the oven for a further 10 minutes to cook fully. Remove from oven and let cool.
Method – the ginger filling
- Before you start the filling, measure the cream for the topping into a jug and mix in the grated ginger to let infuse. Place in fridge.
- Place all of the filling ingredients minus the flour into a bowl and mix together with a fork.
- Slowly add the flour and beat well to avoid any lumps. Let sit.
- When you have your cooked and cooled pastry cases, fill each with some of the filling mix so that the cases are about 3/4 of the way full.
- Place in oven for about 10 minutes, until the filling is fairly firm.
- Turn the tartlets out of their tins and let cool on a wire rack.
Method – the “cheesecake” topping
- Take your infused cream from the fridge and whip until thickened.
- In a bowl, add the cream cheese and icing sugar and beat together. Fold in the whipped, gingery cream until well combined. Put in fridge until your tarts are cool.
- When the tarts are cooled off, top each with the cheesecake topping – as neatly or haphazardly as you want. Decorate with some chopped stem ginger or lemon zest and chill in fridge for at least 40 minutes before serving. Keep stored in fridge.