Neither Mike nor I are big on desserts but at lunch in Getaria at Asador Astillero we had to have the tarta panchineta after seeing those at a neighbouring table consume it with delight. It’s a very simple Basque dessert of flaky pastry filled with pastry cream (similar to French crème patisserie). Because Frances is our crème patisserie expert I asked her to help me see if we could come up with something close to what Mike and I had eaten. We think our result is very close. There is was served by itself but I think it would work really well with some slightly tart poached fruit such as tamarillo, red berries or rhubarb.
- Ingredients (serves at least 8)
- 4 sheets of flaky puff pastry
- 200g hazelnuts, lightly toasted and chopped finely
- 2 egg yolks, beaten
- Icing sugar
- For the pastry cream
- 1 litre milk
- 5 egg whites
- 200g sugar
- 80g cornflour
- 10g butter
- Few pieces of lemon peel and orange peel
- Fine zest of 1-2 lemons
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 vanilla pod, seeds scrapped out or a drop or two of vanilla extract
Put the milk, butter, peel, zest, cinnamon stick and vanilla in a pot and heat till nearly boiling. Set aside to cool and to let the flavours infuse.
Put the egg whites and sugar in a bowl and mix well. Add the cornflour and mix in well ensuring there are no lumps.
Strain the infused milk to remove the pieces of peel, vanilla pod and cinnamon stick.
Very slowly add the milk to the egg and sugar mix. Once you’ve gradually mixed in several ladles full, add the rest.
Return this mixture to the pot and place on the stove. Stir hard and when it starts to boil, turn the heat to low and cook until the mixture thickens. Leave to cool.
Put 2 sheets of the pastry on a baking tray covered with baking paper. Spoon a good thickness of the pastry cream down the centre of each pastry sheet (you may end up with some cream remaining) leaving a 2cm gap at each end.
Brush the 2 ends with egg yolk and down the long sides about 3-4cms away from the edge of the cream. Place a sheet of pastry on top and gently press the edges together. Trim the excess pastry from the long sides (you’ll have a rectangular shape). Crimp around all sides or press down with a fork to make a pattern. Prick with a sharp knife end. If the pastry seems very soft, place the uncooked tarts in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Brush with egg yolk and sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts and then icing sugar. Bake at 180°C for 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with a little more icing sugar. Cut into thick slices and serve warm.
This makes two rectangular shaped tarts. You could make one large square tart or I imagine it would also work in a round pie dish.