I’m on a mission. A mission to make morsels of dessert that satisfy a sweet tooth without causing serious overindulgence! After getting a plantain tart recipe at Easter from my cousins Peter and Karen, I was anxious to try it out. I had an idea to make tartelettes, mini-tarts filled with plantain. So I patiently waited for a plantain to ripen. Diana says they ripen on Jamaica time–it takes 7-10 days in a paper bag. My patience paid off and I finally got a ripe one.
Traditionally, the filling for plantain tarts is bright red. Unfortunately, the recipe did not say how much red food coloring to use, so I decided to be conservative and try for a “dusty rose” shade. I merely succeeded in making it brown. Still, if it tastes like a plantain, then it must be a plantain. I did leave out the raisins–to me it’s sacrilegious to add any to a plantain tart. The pastry, I must say, is exquisite. It came out tender and flaky. However, I think this filling could be more flavorful to go head to head with this pastry.
2 cups sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable shortening
2-4 tablespoons iced water
1 cup ripe plantain, peeled and cut up
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon chopped raisins, optional
Red food coloring, optional
To make the filling:
- In a saucepan combine plantain, sugar, and water
- Cook over low heat until plantain is cooked through, about 5 minutes. The plantains will change from pinkish-orange when raw to deep yellow when cooked.
- Remove from heat and mash lightly. Add nutmeg, vanilla, butter, raisins if using, and red food coloring, if using. After adding 12 drops red and 4 drops blue, the plantain mixture turned dark brown.
- Allow filling to cool before filling tartelettes.
To make the pastry:
- Combine flour and salt with shortening and cut into pastry until flaky. Add iced water to bind together. [I used 2 tablespoons iced water.] Form dough into a ball, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate, about 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 450˚F.
- Roll out chilled dough on a lightly floured board to about 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into 40 two-inch rounds. Cake Baker’s Tip: If the dough warms it may become difficult to handle. Wrap it in plastic and refrigerate it for at least 15 minutes. Use a flat blade spatula to lift each round off the cutting board.
- Spoon about 1/2 tablespoon cooled filling in the center of each round. Top with another pastry round and gently press the edges together. Crimp one side with the tines of a fork.
- Place tartelettes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Brush tops of tartelettes with a little milk.
- Bake for 10 minutes at 450˚F. Reduce heat to 350˚F and bake for 15-20 minutes. Pastry should be delicately brown. Makes 20 tartelettes.