Toucy Prune Tartlets

Toucy Prune Tartlets are delicious sweet pastry tarts filled with a mixture of prunes, cream and kirsh. Serve them with tea or coffee, or with cream as a dessert.

8 oz. flour

½ teaspoon salt

5 oz. plus

1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons castor sugar

1 egg yolk

1 TO 2 tablespoons iced water

1 egg white, lightly beaten

6 oz. prunes, soaked overnight, drained, halved, stoned and chopped

8 fl. oz. water juice of

1 lemon

2 tablespoons kirsch

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons double cream

To make the pastry, sift the flour and salt into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the 5 ounces of butter and cut it into small pieces with a table knife. With your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar.

Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and add the egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of the iced water. With the knife, mix them into the flour mixture. Add more of the water if the dough is too dry.

With your hands, quickly mix and knead the dough until it is smooth. Shape the dough into a ball and wrap it in greaseproof or waxed paper, and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

To make the filling, place the prunes, water, lemon juice and kirsch in the jar of an electric blender and blend at high speed for 30 seconds. Spoon the mixture into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Using a fork, beat in the eggs and cream. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to fairly hot 375 °F (Gas Mark 5, 190°C). Using the remaining tablespoon of butter, lightly grease 22 patty tins.

Remove the dough from the refrig-erator and remove and discard the paper. Place the dough on a lightly floured working surface, and roll it out to a circle approximately

½ inch thick. Using a

3-inch round pastry cutter, cut the dough into

22 circles. Gently press the dough circles into the patty tins. Chill the patty tins in the refrigerator FOR 10 minutes.

Remove the tins from the refrigerator. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the dough with the beaten egg white. Spoon the prune mixture into the patty tins to fill them two-thirds full. Place the tins in the centre of the oven and bake the tartlets for 25 to 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is well risen. Remove the patty tins from the oven and allow the tartlets to cool for 5 minutes. Turn the tartlets out of their tins and set them aside to cool completely on a wire rack before serving.

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