Mirlitons

A classic French pastry, Mirlitons (meer-leh-tawn) are small cases of flaky pastry filled with a rich macaroon mixture. Serve for afternoon tea, or as an accompaniment to coffee.

6 oz. flour

½ teaspoon salt

2 oz. butter

4 to

5 tablespoons iced water

2 oz. vegetable fat

3 oz. peach conserve

2 eggs

2 oz. castor sugar

4 oz. macaroon biscuits , crushed

2 teaspoon vanilla essence

2 oz. slivered almonds

To make the pastry, sift the flour and salt into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Divide the butter into two pieces and add one piece to the flour. With your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. With a knife, mix in enough of the water to form a firm dough.

Turn the dough out on to a floured board and, with your hands, shape it into a square. Roll out the dough into an oblong and dot two-thirds of it with small pieces of half the vegetable fat. Fold over one-third of the dough and then the other third to make a neat, square parcel. Press down the edges with the rolling pin to seal them.

Turn the dough round so that the sealed ends are facing you and roll out again into an oblong. Dot with pieces of the remaining vegetable fat, fold in three, seal the edges, turn the dough and roll out again. Wrap in greaseproof or waxed paper and chill in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.

Repeat this process with the remaining butter.

Preheat the oven to fairly hot 375 CF (Gas Mark 5, 190°C).

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and, on a floured board, roll it out into a circle about -inch thick. With a 4-inch pastry cutter, cut the dough into circles. Line

12 patty tins with the dough circles. Using a fork, lightly prick the bases of the pastry cases two or three times. Spoon

1 teaspoonful of the peach conserve into each patty tin. Set the tins aside.

In a medium-sized heatproof mixing bowl, combine the eggs and sugar. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and, using a wire whisk or rotary beater, beat the mixture until it is thick.

Remove the pan from the heat and continue to beat the mixture for 1 min-ute. Remove the bowl from the pan and stir in the crushed macaroons and vanilla essence.

Spoon the mixture into the pastry cases and sprinkle over the slivered almonds.

Place the patty tins in the oven and bake the mirlitons for 25 to 30 minutes or until the fillings have turned light brown.

Remove the tins from the oven and allow the mirlitons to cool in the tins for 10 minutes. Remove the mirlitons from the tins and set them aside on a wire rack to cool completely before serving.

Miroton de Boeuf is a classic French dish, using leftover cooked beef.

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