Ode to Nigella 14 – heaven and earth mash

Seriously, I think the name of this dish is even OTT for Nigella. The nutmeg was also a really good idea and lifted the dish to a new level. With the zest I just put bit shaved bits of zest in and pulled them out when I was mashing the rest, the recipe was a bit unclear if that was right or if it was meant to be finely grated. I didn’t have time to dwell on it. In fact, I’d probably add another apple. The amount of butter and cream is just ridiculous and yes, it did taste lovely, but I’m not one for saturated fat just for the sake of saturated fat. Would I make this again? Most definitely. But I would at least halve the amount of butter and cream. At least.

Heaven and earth mash

  • 2.5kg floury potatoes
  • 3 eating apples (Nigella used Pink Ladies, I used Granny Smiths)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 150g butter
  • 175ml double cream
  • 1tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  1. Peel and halve (or quarter if they’re really large) potatoes and cook in salted boiling water for 30 minutes.
  2. Add the peeled, cored and quartered apples and lemon ride and cook for another 20 minutes or until soft.
  3. Drain and put through a ricer or mash back into the hot pan in which you have let the butter melt with the cream while you are draining the apples and potatoes.
  4. Add the nutmeg and season with some salt
  5. Beat everything together and serve.

In the recipe Nigella talks about the two critical components to good mash – one is to puree them and the second is to aerate them. So, even though it’s all been mashed, you have to give it a good beating with a wooden spoon before serving.

She talks about how never ever make mash in a processor as it does something to the potato starch that means you end up with glue. I went through a phase of making mash in the processor because I liked that claggy glue silken smooth mash that you got, so there you go. Take from that what you will.

This serves 10 – and I’d believe it.

Passionfruit pineapple tarts, choc-caramel tarts, neenish tarts

A trio of icings

I have been pining for old fashioned pineapple tarts that traditional bakeries make. The ones with a short pastry, pineapple filling, moch cream and topped with passionfruit icing. Linda helped by providing the pineapple filling recipe from the Presbyterian Ladies’ Cookbook or some such treasure trove of old fashioned pre-world war II (apparently) delights.

Pineapple Passionfruit tartlets
Pineapple filling

  • 1 medium pineapple, sliced very finely then diced (easier to do this if the pineapple is cold)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbs cornflour
  • 2 tbs water
  • 1 egg yolk
  1. Combine the pineapple, sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil to cook for 10 minutes
  2. Combine the cornflour, water and egg yolk then stir into the pineapple and cook until thickened

I can’t tell you how making this, then tasting it made me feel. I was jettisoned back to my childhood and the fact that I now had the recipe to make whenever I feel like it was so empowering and exciting! Next

Moch cream

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 80g icing sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk, warmed
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbs boiling water
  1. Beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy
  2. Add the combined milk, vanilla and water a little at a time until all incorporated
  3. Just try not to eat this straight from the bowl.

Passionfruit Icing

  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 30g butter, softened
  • 1 passionfruit
  • 1 1/2 tbs boiling water
  1. Beat the icing sugar with the butter and water by hand
  2. Add the passionfruit by spooning the pulp into a small strainer then push the juice of one half of the passionfruit through, adding some of the seeds to dot the icing.
  3. You might need to add more passionfruit depending on the texture. You want it somewhere between being spreadable and being a glaze. (in the picture above, my first attempt, the icing was a bit too stiff)

Shortcrust pastry

  • 4 cups plain flour
  • 350g unsalted butter
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup cold water
  1. Rub the butter through the flour
  2. Add enough water to bring the dough together
  3. Flatten to a disc and refrigerate for 30 minutes
  4. Roll out to quite thin and line 12 1/4 cup tartlet cases. Prick bases and bake in 180C oven until golden.

This pastry recipe is the one I use for everything. I very rarely make a sweet shortcrust pastry as I find using straight shortcrust helps counterbalance the sweetness of a pie filling. The following pastry however, is perfect for a neenish tart, where the pastry is really a major part of the experience. It is much more like a biscuit crust.

To build the tartlets

  1. Spoon some pineapple into the base
  2. Top with moch cream and smooth surface
  3. Spoon over icing with a palette knife and smooth off.

Neenish Tarts
Pastry for Neenish Tarts

  • 125g soft butter
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
  1. Using an electric mixer with paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar for 4 minutes until pale and fluffy
  2. Add vanilla and egg and beat until combined
  3. Stir through the flour then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes
  4. Roll out to 3mm thick and line 12 1/4 cup capacity tartlet tins
  5. Prick bases and bake at 180C for 10 minutes.

Icing

  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 30g butter, softened
  • 1 tbs water (you can use sherry for a grown-up version)
  • 1 1/2 tbs cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  1. Beat the icing sugar, butter and 1 1/2 tbs of boiling water by hand
  2. Divide the mixture in half. Either add 1 tsp of sherry or the 1 tsp of lemon juice to one half and set aside
  3. Add remaining sherry to cocoa and stir to combine then mix in to remaining icing

To build the tarts

  1. Fill the pastry case with a spoon of jam
  2. Top with moch cream and level out
  3. Using a small palette knife ice half of each tart with the chocolate icing then ice the other halves with the lemon/white icing, smoothing to edges.

It’s best we not speak of just how many I ate.