Friday, May 9, 2008

masterbaker - vanilla challenge

The masterbaker challenge for April is vanilla. People are often asked whether they prefer vanilla or chocolate and I think it is an unfair choice! While I would almost always choose chocolate first, vanilla is definitely my favourite spice. I love the smell of vanilla and the taste of real vanilla adds so much to otherwise bland foods such as ice-cream, custard and whipped cream. Actually there are only two perfumes that I wear – eternity which I mostly wear, but sometimes for a break I use body shop vanilla. The fragrance I fill my house with is also called cocoa and vanilla which I adore! So, yes to chocolate but equally yes to vanilla!!

Anyway, back to the challenge. Last year I bought some vanilla jam from Q Gardens in Waitara. The jam is made with melon as a base and has flecks of vanilla bean through it. It has a lovely vanilla flavour – you cant really taste the melon, I guess it just gives the jam the pectin for setting. I decided to put it to use in my vanilla creation for March.

I love little jam drop cookies, but wanted to do something a bit different, so I used mini muffin tins to bake the cookies, making little vanilla jam tarts. These taste like a cross between a biscuit and a tart base. They look kind of cute for a change. I added poppyseeds to the dough to give a little bit of crunch and it is also flavoured with real vanilla extract (the heilala brand I always use). These little bites are deliciously filled with vanilla jam. I used the end of a wooden spoon to make the indents – I find it works better than my finger. If you didn’t have vanilla jam you could fill them with any other flavoured jam – plum would be nice or the peach and vanilla jam I made earlier in the year.

Vanilla Jam Tarts

125g butter
1/3 c sugar
1 tsp Heilala vanilla
1 ¼ c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp poppyseeds
2 tbsp milk
jam to fill

· Cream butter and sugar, add vanilla
· Stir in dry ingredients and then milk to make the dough
· Press small balls of dough into greased mini muffin tins (I got 20 little tarts)
· Press an indent into each tart and fill with half a tsp of jam
· Bake at 170c for 18 minutes or until golden
Leave for at least 5 minutes before removing from the tins

1 comment:

Cakelaw said...

I'm with you Tammy - both chocolate and vanilla are fab. Love your little vanilla jam tarts - they are very cute.