Reaching the final of Masterchef 2007 was a rollercoaster of emotion, with huge highs and lows, but I loved every minute and learnt a huge amount. I owe a great deal to John and Gregg who had faith in my ability when I did not believe in myself. Since competing on the programme my life has changed considerably. I now write cookery columns for two magazines, give cookery demonstrations and am just working on my 13th cook book - unlucky number for some but not for me!!! I love all forms of country cooking, using seasonal and locally sourced produce. This blog is to enable me to share with you a few of my recipes and baking ideas. Enjoy Hannah xxxx

Thursday, 7 May 2009

If you are ever near Kew Gardens in London, it is definitely worth taking afternoon tea at Newens Bakery. They have been making Maids of Honour tarts since the early 18th Century and entering their shop is like stepping back in time. Although they do serve other lovely cakes, the Maids of Honour Tarts are their specialty. If you haven't come across these tarts before, think bakewell tarts meets lemon tart and you would be just about there. Obviously Newens keep their recipe top secret (although Henry the 8th had the recipe and kept it under lock and key apparently) so this is my own interpretation - not completely true to the original (I don't think they use cream cheese!) but they melted in the mouth all the same!

Maids of Honour Tarts
Makes 18

70g/2 1/2 oz caster sugar
115g/4oz butter, softened plus extra for greasing
115g/4oz ground almonds
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
85g pannetone crumbs (I used a citrus pannetone and the peel gave the tarts a little extra zing but you can substitute breadcrumbs if you do not have pannetone available)
500g shortcrust pastry
flour for dusting
6 tbsp lemon curd
6 tbsp cream cheese
18 whole almonds
equipment: 2 muffin tins, 3 inch round flower cutter

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4/180C/350F and grease 18 cups of the muffin tins. Cream together the caster sugar and butter using a handwhisk until light and creamy. Add the ground almonds and whisk again. Place the eggs, vanilla, lemon zest and pannetone crumbs in the bowl and mix in well. Roll out the pastry on a floured worksurface to 1/2cm thickness and cut out 18 flower shapes with the cutter. Press each one gently into a hole on the muffin tray, pressing the flower edges neatly against the sides of the tin. Place a teaspoon of lemon curd and cream cheese in the bottom of each tart. Spoon the citrus almond filling into a piping bag fitted with a large round nozzle and pipe the filling into each tart. Top each tart with an almond and bake for 15 - 20 minutes until the pastry is cooked and the filling is golden brown. Leave to cool on a rack (although that said, we ate several each warm from the oven as we were impatient!)


Magic Cochin said...

Oh! I didn't know about Newens and we at Kew Gradens last Saturday :-(

Love how you've used the flower cutter for the pastry :-)


Lucy said...

It sounds like a lovely bakery: I wish I knew about it the times I went to Kew Gardens! Your tarts look gorgeous - I too love the flower cutter :)

Marie said...

Your tarts are so pretty Hannah! I just love all the little touches you use for all your baking!