Kimberley's Pea Purée and Ham Tartlets
Very thin, melt-in-the-mouth cheese pastry with a simple filling, these mini tartlets have an eye-catching decoration – crisp sails made from Parmesan and Parma ham.
- For the cheese pastry:
- 200g plain flower
- 120g salted butter, chilled and diced
- 15g Parmesan, freshly grated
- leaves from 1 small fresh thyme sprig
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 tbsp cold water
- 1 egg, lightly beaten, to glaze
- For the filling:
- 25g unsalted butter
- 1 small white onion, finely chopped
- 250g frozen petits pois
- 100g chicken stock
- 3 fresh mint leaves
- To finish:
- 50g Parmesan, freshly grated
- 30g Parma ham
1 Make the cheese pastry in a food processor. Put the flour and butter into the bowl of the processor and run the machine until the mixture looks like fine crumbs. Add the Parmesan and the thyme leaves and ‘pulse’ a few times until combined.Add the egg yolk and 2 tablespoons water and process just until the dough comes together in a ball – only add more water if needed to bring the dough together.Turn out the dough and shape it into a disc, then wrap in clingfilm and chill for 15 minutes.
2 Roll out the dough on a lightly floured worktop (or between 2 sheets of baking parchment) until quite thin – about 2–3mm – then cut out 12 circles using a 7cm plain round cutter. Re-roll the trimmings and cut out more rounds. Press the pastry circles into the bun tray to neatly line the cups. Prick the base of each pastry case with a fork, then chill for 15 minutes.
3 Meanwhile, heat your oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Line each pastry case with a small square of baking parchment and fill with baking beans. Place in the heated oven and bake blind for 10 minutes. Remove the paper and beans, then lightly brush the pastry cases with beaten egg. Return them to the oven and bake for a further 7–10 minutes until crisp and golden brown. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before carefully removing the tartlet cases from the tray. Set them on a wire rack to cool completely. Leave the oven on.
4 To make the filling, melt the butter in a small pan, add the onion and cook gently for about 15 minutes until very soft and golden.Add the peas and stock and simmer for about 5 minutes until the peas are tender. Remove from the heat.Tear up the mint leaves and add to the pan. Cool for a minute, then blend to a smooth, thick purée with a hand blender or in a food processor. Season to taste with pepper. Leave to cool.
5 Spoon the grated Parmesan on to the lined baking sheet in 4 piles about 2cm high, spacing them well apart. Place in the heated oven and bake for 10–12 minutes until a good golden colour and bubbling. Remove from the oven and leave on the baking sheet until completely cold and firm.
6 Using kitchen scissors, snip the Parma ham slices across into strips about 5cm wide. Put them in a cold non-stick frying pan and set over medium heat. Fry briefly – about 2 minutes – until crisp, stirring frequently.Transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper and leave to cool.
7 To assemble, spoon the pea purée into the tartlet cases. Break each Parmesan crisp into 3 shards and stick into the purée. Finish with shards of Parma ham. Serve at room temperature.
NOTE:The vibrant green colour will fade, so these are best made and served straight away.