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Guava & almond tarts with brandy cream

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In South Africa, September to February is guava season! And although there’s nothing stopping you from using freshly peeled and halved guavas in this recipe, using preserved guavas means you can make this delicious dessert all year round. The ground almonds lend these tarts a great crumbly texture, so make sure you don’t buy almond meal – the base ingredient in macarons – which has a finer, more delicate consistency. Suffusing the cream with brandy garnishes these tarts, which are not overly sweet, with a delectable dollop of festive flair.

Whether planning a menu at JAN or whipping something up at home, I live by the seasons. They’re almost sacred to me and almost always the main inspiration behind a dish. Growing up, our pantry was always chock-a-block with Consol jar upon Kilner jar of preserved quinces, peaches, pears and guavas. Preserving fruit was a beautiful ritual perpetuated by my grandmothers – a way of preserving the seasons that felt like magic – and I relished taking part in it. Guava is one of my favourite fruits. It doesn’t matter if it’s from a can – drenched in evaporated milk – or taken up a notch as the star of one of these tantalising tarts. To me, that first whiff of its unique strawberry-pear notes, while driving behind a guava truck, was always the official signal that summer had arrived.

INGREDIENTS

For the guava and almond tarts

90 g (100 ml) soft butter

90 g (110 ml) muscovado brown sugar

2 eggs

100 g ground almonds

40 g (70 ml) cake flour

1 ml baking powder

12 preserved guava halves

45 ml muscovado brown sugar

icing sugar, to dust

For the brandy cream

250 ml cream

30 ml icing sugar

45 ml brandy

METHOD

For the guava and almond tarts

Preheat the oven to 160 °C. Cream the butter and 90g of the sugar until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs, ground almonds, flour and baking powder. Mix well.

Spray four 10 cm loose-base quiche tins with cooking spray. Divide the almond mixture between the tins and spread it out evenly in the tins. Place 3 guava halves per tart on the batter of each tin and sprinkle the rest of the sugar on top.

Place the tart tins on a baking tray and place in the oven. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes.

Remove the tins from the oven and let them cool to room temperature before removing the tarts from the tins.

For the brandy cream

Whip the cream and sugar together until soft peaks begin to form. Carefully fold in the brandy.

To serve

Dust the tarts with a little icing sugar and serve with the brandy cream. 

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