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20100318

Simple Recipe for Fern Tarts


Fern tarts, also known as fern cakes, are always one of the best-selling bakery items at Blighty's Tuck Store.

Fern tarts get their name from the chocolate fern design on the top. There is a technique used by professional bakers to get a perfect fern shape. It takes a lot of practice to get it right but the tarts taste just as good if, like me, you draw a simple tree shape. The recipe is not difficult but it does take a little time and patience to get it right. Here is how I did it.

Ingredients
  • 1 pack Green's Sponge Mix
  • 1 dozen frozen pastry shells
  • Icing sugar
  • Cadbury Cocoa powder
  • Hartley's Strawberry Jelly

Preparation
  • Lightly pre-bake the pastry shells and allow to cool
  • Prepare the sponge mix according to the directions on the package
  • Cut the Hartleys Strawberry Jelly cubes in half and place half a cube in the bottom of each tart shell
  • Put a tablespoon of prepared sponge batter into the tart shells
  • Bake at 400F for about 12 minutes then allow to cool

  • Mix some icing sugar with a tablespoon of vegetable oil and a very small amount of boiling water. Adjust the amount of water and sugar until you have a stiff icing
  • Spread the icing on top of each tart
  • Make a little more icing, a little thinner this time, and add a generous amount of Cadbury Cocoa powder to it.
  • Roll a piece of wax paper into a cone shape, leaving a small hole at the bottom.
  • Spoon a small amount of cocoa icing into the paper cone while pinching it at the bottom
  • Release the bottom of the cone and draw your best fern design on top of each tart
  • Close all the doors to the kitchen and pig out - these are way too good to share with anybody!
John's Notes
Of course, you could make these tarts entirely from scratch. I used ingredients from the shelves at Blighty's Tuck Store simply for convenience. Some bakers use strawberry jam at the bottom of fern tarts instead of jelly. I chose to use jelly because it melts in the oven nicely while jam tends to get overcooked.

If you happen to have a proper kitchen tool for the icing you could use that instead. I don't have one and neither did the professional baker that I watched some while ago. He taught me the wax paper cone technique which works very well indeed. When finished simply toss it into the garbage and you're done.

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