Just desserts: Mango-berry almond tartlet

Tomorrow, I’ll be lunching with few new-found companions from church. A pot-luck affair, a friend and I were lucked out in bringing our dessert creation. Since she couldn’t think of anything nice, quick and dessert-y to make in the kitchen the day before the lunch, I had to brainstorm a bit, with planned lightning-strikes at certain groceries in Leuven and its suburbs, with the idea of using my stash of dried mangoes.

I present to you: Oui’s Mango-Berry Almond (MBA) tartlets–
almost-finished MBA tartlets

Materials:
– a packet or two of dried mango from the Philippines
– fresh strawberries, washed and patted dry (from FiFo, the local fresh greengrocer)
– a Tetra-brick of cream (~250 mL)
– gelatin sheets (Dr. Oetker, from Carrefour in Kessel-Lo)
– 1 Tbsp crystal sugar (or more to taste)
– almond slivers
– ready-to-fill pastry cups (because I don’t know how to make pastry)

Methodology:
– Soak 2-3 sheets of gelatin in 125-mL cold water for 5 minutes.
– Warm up the cream in a pot. Do NOT scald!
– After 5 minutes of soaking, mix the gelatin sheets in the heated cream. Add sugar, then mix until smooth. Keep warm.
– Line pastry cups with slivered almonds.
– Ladle the cream-gelatin mixture into the cups. Set for 15-25 minutes on a cool tabletop or refrigerator, or until slightly firm.
– Slice the pieces of dried mango into strips. Remove the green sepals from the strawberries.
– Soak another sheet or two of gelatin in cold water (in a pot), then slowly warm the pot up until the gelatin melts. Keep warm.
– Add the strips of dried mango on the cream-gelatin tartlet. Place a strawberry at the center, point up. Sprinkle with slivered almonds.
– Glaze the top of the tartlet with gelatin to “seal” in the topping.

After glazing, you should end up with this:
MBA tartlet after glazing

Discussion:
No patisserie creme? Yes, because it involves the use of eggs. No, don’t get me wrong, I love eating eggs, but I wanted this dessert to be made as quick and painless as possible in terms of prep and setting times (eggs, when handled incorrectly, tend to curdle). Plus I don’t think mangoes, dried ones, go well with a custard-type filling. Mangoes go well with sweet cream, strawberries too.

Glazing with gelatin = overload? Ah, this is the quickest way to make fruit toppings shiny. Another way is to make a thin-sort of sugar syrup to drizzle over the tartlet, but with the over-eager stove in the communal kitchen (it can and WILL burn everything on the pan) and the lack of time (the lunch is tomorrow, for crying out loud!), I opted for gelatin. Besides, the dried mangoes are so sugary sweet already.

Slivered almonds. Well, this is just to add another dimension to the otherwise too-simple sweet cream-gelatin. Almond gives the tartlet a nice, sophisticated texture and taste.

Ready-to-fill pastry cups. Because I have no idea how to bake pastry shells, and…I want everything to be quick. Such is the life of guerilla-cooking in the residence’s communal kitchen.

Conclusion:
I admit…I haven’t tried the tartlet yet, but there was still leftover cream-gelatin, so I had it for dessert tonight, with slivered almonds, leftover dried mango strips AND a strawberry. Sweet (but not sugar-sweet), creamy with a bit of fruity-tartness and a nutty side-note. Not bad at all. 😀

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2 thoughts on “Just desserts: Mango-berry almond tartlet

  1. We’re lucky to have a supply of really good strawberries here in Europe. They’re deliciously sweet and dirt cheap.

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