How is your Christmas preparation? Any more shopping or presents wrapping? I hope that I have ticked all in my Christmas checklist... Finger-crossed because I never like any last minute panic!
Am I ready to celebrate Christmas? Yes, I am.
Remember that I made Rudolph the red nosed reindeer cake pops last year? I like Rudolph the red nosed reindeer and always like to celebrate my Christmas with cute reindeer. This year, I'm baking Rudolph again, not cake pops but sweet caramel Rudolph...
This delicious caramel tart recipe originates from the book, Bill Cooks for Kids by Bill Granger. Being typically Bill Granger, his tarts are the plain and simple kind decorated with just chocolate buttons. Mine are slightly fanciful and Christmas-y... Each of mine has a pair of eyes, antlers, ears, a red nose and a smile. Sweet!
No doubt at all that these caramel tarts made with sugar are sweet! ... and this is the reason why that I baked these for happy kids and a Christmas picnic.
|Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Mini Caramel Tarts|
|What are these??? Keep guessing :)|
|Warning: This tart dough is very soft! Chilling it thoroughly and dusting with lots of flour help.|
|Chill these in the freezer first before baking!|
|AMAZED!!! No pie weight or blind-baking is required to bake these! ...and there is minimal shrinkage too!|
|Cooking caramel from scratch... I like to use a candy thermometer to avoid burning the sugar.|
|This spoonful of caramel is for me... Test test... Yum!|
|Pour caramel into each tart pastry|
|A tart with eyes, ears, antlers, a red nose and a smile! I've made Rudolph!|
|Bye! We are going to a Christmas picnic!|
Here's the recipe from the book, Bill Cooks for Kids by Bill Granger
(with my modification and note in blue)
250g plain flour
110g caster sugar
115g unsalted butter
chocolate melts (buttons) to decorate
450g caster sugar
40g unsalted butter
Mix the flour, sugar and butter in a food processor until fine crumbs form. Add the egg and pulse until just combined. Turn out onto a clean work surface and lightly knead together. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for 20 mins or until firm. Instead of using food processor, I have rubbed butter into flour and sugar mixture by hand and add egg to combine.
Roll out the dough to about 4mm thick and use a cutter to cut out 6 cm (or 8 cm just in case if there is any shrinkage) rounds. Use the pastry to line two 12-hole patty pans or mini muffin tins and place in the freezer for 15-20 mins or until firm. I'm a little kiasu and chilled mine overnight.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C (or 180°C fan forced). Bake the tart shells for 15 mins or until golden and I baked mine for 13 mins.
To make filling, put the sugar in a saucepan with 250ml water and boil over high heat for 15 mins or until deeply golden (the candy thermometer will read 350°F). Remove from the heat, then carefully stir in the cream and the butter. Pour into the tart shells and chill for 2 hrs.
Decorate the tarts with chocolate buttons and keep in the fridge until ready to serve.
Note: Using half of this recipe and a patty pan, I have baked 12 tarts.
How to transform plain caramel tarts to Rudolph:
Pipe melted dark chocolate into small dots for eyes, medium drops for ears and "F" and reverse "F" for antlers. Allow chocolate to set.
Prepare two types of royal icing; a plain white one and a dark chocolate one to assemble Rudolph's face. As I require only 3-4 tbsp of each icing, I prefer to use ready-to-use royal icing which is mentioned in this post If ready-to-use royal icing option is not available for you, you may like to use this recipe. To make plain white icing, add water into ready-to-use royal icing mixture and mix until it reach your desired consistency. To make chocolate royal icing, add 1-2 tsp of cocoa powder into 1/4 pack of ready-to-use royal icing and mix until it reach your desired consistency.
Using the chocolate royal icing, pipe across the tart and make a small loop to form a smile. Then, pipe dots of chocolate royal icing on area to adhere the antlers and ears. Place the antlers, ears and a mini red M and M accordingly.
Using the white royal icing, pipe two dots at the middle of the tart to form the eyes and place two small dots of chocolate on them to complete the "look" of the eyes.
Here you go... a smiley Rudolph!
Before going off... I like to mention that although these tarts are deliciously good and cute, these chocolate antlers didn't survive well in our summery picnic. For this reason, I would like to suggest using pretzel as antlers as this is definitely a more durable option. Yes that I have thought of this potential problem before but didn't make these tarts using pretzel because my boy said that he prefer chocolate rather pretzel... Not a good idea, son! Hmmm....
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