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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cake Tarts (aka Nanban Ourai)



Ok, I'm not going to lie.....this recipe is my attempt at a replica of one of my favorite sweet treats that I've had in Japan. (Sorry, folks, it's not mochi ice cream.)


It's. . .
Nanban Ourai!


What on earth is a 'Nanban Ourai'?

A Nanban Ourai is the MOST delicious cross between a cake and a pie that I've ever experienced. That may sound strange, I suppose, but consider if it was the best of both worlds:  a buttery, rich crust that melts in your mouth with a raspberry filling AND a soft madeleine like cake on top.  Individually wrapped, just the right size, and in a cute package to boot. It's my little version of heaven.

And they have a fall version with my favorite filling:  marron (chestnut)!


Alas, this version is only available for a couple of months, and they go fast.  Last year, I was too late, and I had to wait a whole year before I could get my chestnut fix. So, this year, I thought, it was either buy a lot and freeze for the duration of the year (like a good friend of mine used to do with Cadbury cream eggs back in high school) or figure out the recipe.

I did the latter, and darn, are they ever good!

Cake Tarts
(Nanban Ourai)

Ingredients:

1 recipe Pie Crust Dough (store bought or see recipe below)
1/4- 1/2 cup raspberry jam (for the regular version) or sweetened chestnut paste

For cake:
3/4 cup (110g) flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
8 tablespoons (115g) butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
powdered sugar for dusting
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC).

2. On a floured surface, roll out small balls of  pie crust dough to 1/4 inch thickness to fit individual tart pans (or a madeleine pan, as I used).  Alternatively, you could make one big tart in a regular tart pan.  Lay the pie crust gently in the pans and crimp or flute the edges. Put the tart pans in the refrigerator while you prepare the cake batter. 


3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
4. In a large bowl, whip the eggs until foamy, then whisk in the sugar and then the almond extract. Whisk in half of the flour mixture, then gently stir in half of the melted butter. Stir in the remaining flour mixture, then the rest of the butter.

5.  Take the tart pans out of the refrigerator and spread a layer (not too thin but not too thick) of raspberry jam or the chestnut puree on top of the pie crust.
6.  Spread a layer of cake batter on top of the jam or puree.  Be careful not to overfill.
7. Bake the tarts for 15-20 minutes for small/individual tarts, and 30-45 minutes for one larger tart or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the tarts cool completely on a wire rack.

8.  Carefully remove the tarts from the pans and dust with powered sugar, if desired.

Pie crust dough recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, chilled and diced
  • 1/4 cup ice water

  • In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in water, a tablespoon at a time, until mixture forms a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

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