Mascarpone Jalapeno Tart

Everyone has days when they crave something simple and comforting to eat. Days when the weathers really dull or other days when things haven’t been so rosy and life has really pulled you down are those days. But sometimes, there are other days when you really want to push yourself and create something interesting with the stuff available and feel great about doing it all on your own. Ok..the dish may work brilliantly at times but there are other times, when it wont be so great…That’s ok I think..At least, you tried. Consider it a learning experience.

I had my moment last week when I picked up some beautiful fresh Jalapeño peppers from the market. What can you possibly do with Jalapenos? There are the tried and tested wonderful options of Jalapeno poppers or maybe pickled Jalapeno (if you have them in loads and don’t want to waste them). I wanted to try something out of the way. There were quite a few recipes online and some of them were really good..I came across this one with a watermelon juice spiked with a bit of jalapeno for a quirky hit.

But then again, I wanted to try something original and hopefully something that tasted good too. After a while of racking brains and rejecting a few thoughts…I finally decided to move ahead and try something. If it failed, it failed…It was after all an experiment and that is how research works, right?

Just a note for people working with Jalapenos – these are some seriously hot chillies but the heat is majorly localised in their seeds. I decided to do away with the seeds (Of course, I am using these seeds to grow more chillies in my window garden) and use only the green fruit and I can honestly assure you that the fruit had practically negligible heat to it. However, you do need to be very careful when you are deseeding the chilli. Do not let the seeds touch your hand for too long and immediately wash them with soap water to avoid the terrible burning sensation that you would otherwise feel.

Here’s my experimental recipe below. Some of you may like it..Some may not.. (I really liked it though)

 

INGREDIENTS

 

For the Tart Shell

Plain flour – 1 cup

Salted butter: chilled and cubed – 1 cup

Parmesan cheese grated – ½ cup

Salt – just if needed for taste

 

For the Onion Jam:

Sliced Onions –  2 cups

Butter – ½ cup

Sugar – 3 to 4 tablespoons

 

Mascarpone-Jalapeno filling

Mascarpone cheese – ½ cup

Fresh Jalapeno pepper: Deseeded and finely chopped – 2 tablespoons

Salt – as required for seasoning

 

Burnt tomato-Jalapeno sauce

Plum tomatoes – 3 small ones [Regular tomatoes would work as well]

Tomatoes: finely chopped – 1 cup

Fresh Jalapeno pepper: Deseeded and finely chopped – 2 tablespoons

Sea Salt and Black pepper – As needed for seasoning

Red chilli/paprika powder – 1 tablespoon

Tomato puree/ ketchup – 2 tablespoons

 

METHOD 

For the Tart Shells

  • Mix the flour, parmesan cheese.
  • Add in the butter and rub everything together to create a breadcrumb like mixture.
  • Knead into dough. You can add a spoonful of milk to bring it all together.
  • Just make sure you working quickly and use only your fingertips to rub the butter in.
  • If you spend too long on this, the dough will get sticky and messy as the butter wil start melting.
  • Wrap the dough in Clingfilm and put in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
  • Take out once the dough seems well set and cooled.
  • Roll out the dough in small circles (use some plain flour to assist rolling) and place them in tart moulds. I used small moulds. If you are using larger ones, roll the size accordingly.
  • Bake in a pre-heated oven at 175 degrees C for about 20 minutes until golden brown.

 

Note: The baking time may differ based on the size of the tart mould. Use your instinct to judge the baking time.

 

For the Onion Jam

  • Heat the butter in a pan.
  • Add in the Sliced onions and sauté for a few minutes.
  • Once the onions start getting a bit golden, add in the sugar.
  • Stir for a while and keep an eye so as to not burn it all.
  • It should take about 10 minutes for the jam to work out.
  • If it burns for long, the mixture will sort of become a bit hard due to the sugar.
  • Leave aside to cool.

 

For the Mascarpone filling

  • Mix in the mascarpone cream and jalapenos.
  • Season with salt as required.
  • Mix to make a smooth mixture.
  • You could also try using Ricotta cheese instead of mascarpone if you like.

 

For the Burnt tomato sauce

  • Cut the plum tomatoes in half and scope out the seeds.
  • Place the tomatoes cut side up in a baking tray.
  • Season generously with sea-salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Roast in a pre-heated oven at about 190 degrees C for about 20 minutes until lightly charred from top.
  • Flip the tomatoes over and roast again for about 15 minutes.
  • If you can roast the tomatoes in a BBQ – definitely nothing like it. The flavours will all evolve beautifully.
  • Take them out and leave aside for a few minutes to cool.
  • Blend the roasted tomatoes with the fresh, chopped tomatoes in a blender to get a coarse sauce. You don’t want it too smooth, as the coarse texture will balance the dish.
  • Toss the sauce in a hot pan.
  • Add the chilli powder and the tomato puree/ketchup and stir for a while.
  • Add in the Jalapenos.
  • Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper (don’t use the store bought ground ones..the fresh grind always gives a better flavour as the aromatic oils from the spice get released and give the maximum impact)
  • Leave aside to cool.

 

For the Final Assembly

  • Take a tart shell
  • Spread some Onion Jam at the base – about 1 teaspoonful
  • Pipe the Mascarpone filing on it.
  • Spread a little of the Burnt tomato- Jalapeno sauce on top.

IMG_2877

Note: The tarts are best served at room temperature. Serving them hot will make the cheese melt and serving cold wont really taste well.

 

 

 

 

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