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Sweet or savoury, surprise her tomorrow on Mother’s Day with f these tasty pastrries

ASPARAGUS SPRING GARDEN TART 

Serves 4

Ingredients  

  • 375g (13oz) pack of ready-rolled puff pastry
  • 6tbsp mascarpone
  • 50g (1¾oz) Parmesan, finely grated
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1tsp dried mixed herbs

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8-10 stems of fine asparagus
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 small orange sweet pepper, sliced into rings
  • ½ a small red onion, sliced finely
  •  2tbsp olive oil

 

Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Remove the pastry from the fridge, then carefully unroll onto a large baking tray, using the paper it’s wrapped in to line the tray. 

Using a small sharp knife, score a line 3cm inside the edges of the pastry to make a rim to contain the mixture.

Mix the mascarpone with the Parmesan, lemon zest, garlic and dried herbs, season and spread the mixture evenly inside the border of the pastry.

Snap off the woody ends of the asparagus, and arrange it on the top of the tart to look like trees; cut off bits of the stems to dot along the bottom edge as grass. 

Arrange the tomato halves and orange pepper rings between the stems as flowers, and scatter the red onion for more colour.

Brush all the vegetables with olive oil then bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown. 

Check a couple of times during baking and if the pastry has puffed up in the centre, pierce it with a skewer so that the pastry deflates. Serve whole or cut into slices.

RHUBARB & CUSTARD TART

Sweet or savoury, surprise her tomorrow on Mother's Day with f these tasty pastrries

Serves 8

Ingredients  

  •  375g (13oz) ready-to-roll sweet shortcrust pastry
  •  Flour, for dusting
  •  400g (14oz) rhubarb, cut into 3cm lengths
  •  1tbsp cornflour
  •  3tbsp crystallised ginger

For the custard

  • 4tbsp custard powder
  • 100g (3½oz) caster sugar
  • 400ml (14fl oz) milk
  • 1 egg

Set aside 125g (4½oz) pastry for the lattice top. Cover with clingfilm and chill. 

Roll out the remaining pastry on a floured work surface and use to line a 22-23cm fluted flan tin. Trim the edges. Chill for 15 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Line the pastry case with a circle of baking paper and fill with baking beans or uncooked rice. Bake for 15 minutes. 

Remove the paper and beans or rice and cool.

Mix the custard powder, 75g of sugar and 100ml of milk to a smooth paste.

 Heat the remaining milk until almost boiling then pour a little over the custard powder mixture.

 Stir, then pour back into the pan with the milk and cook, stirring, until thick and smooth. Cool for 5 minutes then beat in the egg. Cover with clingfilm to prevent a skin forming.

Toss the rhubarb in the remaining sugar and the cornflour. Sprinkle the ginger into the pastry case. 

Pour in the custard and place the rhubarb on top. Roll out the pastry for the top to 5mm thick and cut into 1cm strips. Twist and arrange in a lattice on top. 

Bake for 20 minutes until golden. Cool for at least 2 hours to set. Serve at room temperature.

PEA & HAM CUSTARD TARTLETS 

Makes 6 individual tarts

  • 3 sheets of filo pastry
  • 40g (1½oz) butter, melted
  • 150ml (5fl oz) soured cream
  • 1tsp Dijon mustard

 

  • 3 eggs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 100g (3½oz) cooked ham
  • 60g (2¼oz) frozen peas
  • 1tbsp finely chopped parsley

Sweet or savoury, surprise her tomorrow on Mother's Day with f these tasty pastrries

You will need 6 round flan tins about 8cm in diameter, or a 6-hole muffin tin. First, stack the 3 sheets of filo on top of each other, with one long side facing towards you. 

Cut the stack into 4 vertically, then in half horizontally, to give you squares of approximately 12cm. You should have 8 stacks of 3 squares, so 24 in total.

Allowing 4 sheets per tart, brush the first sheet with melted butter, then press into a tin or muffin hole. Brush the next sheet with butter and layer it on top of the other, placing the points of the pastry at a different angle so the tartlets look like a flower. 

Repeat at different angles, scrunching the ends, to line all 6 tins or holes. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4.

Beat the soured cream, mustard and eggs together with a fork, and season. 

Tear the ham into pieces and divide between the pastry cases. Top with the peas and sprinkle with parsley.

 Pour the soured cream custard on top of each and bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden. Best served at room temperature.

LEMON TART WITH EDIBLE FLOWERS 

Sweet or savoury, surprise her tomorrow on Mother's Day with f these tasty pastrries

Serves 6

For the pastry

  • 100g (3½oz) butter, diced
  • 175g (6oz) plain flour
  • 25g (1oz) caster sugar
  • 1 egg yolk, whisked

 For the filling

  • 100g (3½oz) caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 150ml (5fl oz) double cream
  • Grated zest and juice of 3 lemons

 To decorate

  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • A few mint leaves

  •  Edible flowers such as primulas and pansies, optional (from larger supermarkets or online, or from the garden – make sure they’re pesticide-free and washed)

Place the butter, flour and sugar in a food processor and pulse to fine crumbs. 

Tip into a bowl, then mix in the yolk and 2tbsp water. Bring together into a ball, pat into a flat disc, wrap in clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes. 

Roll out the pastry until it’s large enough to line a 20cm fluted tart tin, 4cm deep. Trim the edges and chill for 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/gas 5. Line the pastry with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans or uncooked rice.

 Bake for 15 minutes or until pale golden. Remove the paper and beans or rice and bake for 10 minutes until golden. Reduce the oven to 150°C/fan 130°C/gas 2.

In a bowl, whisk the 100g caster sugar and eggs together until foamy. Beat in the cream, then the zest and juice. 

Pour into the tart case and bake for 25-30 minutes until just set with a slight wobble. 

Cool to set more firmly then decorate with lemon slices, mint and edible flowers, if using.

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