With Christmas just around the corner, there's a lot of talk about what's on everyone's menu!
In fact, I think one of the best things about Christmas is getting the family together to enjoy good food and great company.
One of my family’s favourite Christmas treats is Finnish ‘Joulutorttu’, which translates to Christmas tart. Joulutorttu are traditionally made with a quark and butter pastry and filled with homemade prune jam. An alternative is to use puff pastry, however the quark pastry really compliments the prune jam and is the true essence of this little tasty treat.
Another alternative is to add ready-made jam, however as you will see, the prune jam is quick and very simple to make.
This recipe makes approx. 60 pieces, simply halve the ingredients to make a smaller quantity. Although the process of cutting the dough and shaping the tarts seems tricky to start with, it quickly gets easier and before you know it you’ll be whizzing through them!
- 500g unsalted butter; cubed, at room temperature
- 500g light ricotta
- 500g plain flour
- Mix butter and flour together with fingers to form a crumby consistency
- Add ricotta and mix to form dough
- Roll dough into a ball then flatten into a disc shape and wrap in cling wrap
- Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes
- 300g pitted prunes
- 4 tbs sugar
- Water – just enough to cover the prunes in a medium sized saucepan
- Soak prunes for 2 hours, rinse, then place into a saucepan with water and sugar.
- Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer until the prunes have completely softened (about 15-20 minutes).
- Stir every so often to ensure they do not stick to the pan.
- Once the prunes are soft and most of the water has been absorbed, remove from heat. If you want a smooth texture you can puree the jam, or if you prefer a chunkier texture mash the softened prunes with a fork.
- Divide pastry dough into 3 portions.
- Roll the first portion out, fold into three (like an envelope) and roll out again into a square shape 0.5–1cm in thickness. If rolled too thin the tarts are a bit difficult to handle between the board and the baking tray, so lean towards thicker rather than thinner.
- Use flour sparingly to ensure the pastry dough does not stick to the board.
- Sprinkle a bit of flour over the dough after the first roll-out as it makes the dough easier to handle.
- Cut the pastry into squares about 8x8cm in size. Make diagonal cuts in each corner of every square almost halfway to the centre of the square, leaving the middle of the square uncut for the jam.
- Place a teaspoon of jam into the centre of each square. To make a windmill shape, lift one corner of a square and fold into the middle on top of the jam.
- Brush the top of the pastry corner with lightly beaten egg, and fold the next corner on top.
- Continue with the last 2 corners.
- Press firmly in the middle to ensure the corners stick.
- Place the pastries onto a baking tray and brush all over with lightly beaten egg.
- Bake at 225oC for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown and slightly puffed.
- Once cool, dust with icing sugar.
* Tarts can be frozen in freezer bags. To thaw, place tarts onto a baking tray and pop into oven for 10 minutes on low heat just before serving.