Saturday, September 3, 2011

Pastel Gitano - Gypsy Tart Recipe

Centuries ago, gypsies wandered from Castile into southern Spain, and the Grenada Mountains. Soon the mountains were echoing the sweet music of the guitars and the wild, foot-stomping and handclapping of the gypsy girls. It was the festive swirling of of their skirts that inspired this popular confection found in all their festivities. This pastel Gitano is a delicate shell of flavored meringue filled with fresh fruits and cherries imitating polka dots and ruffled with a meringue border. This will make a beautiful centerpiece for any occasion. Serves eight.

Meringue Shell
4 egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 t. cream of tartar
1/4 t. salt
1 T. vanilla, or coffee, strong and very cold
1 cup sugar

V.S.P. combine the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt. Beat egg whites until soft moist peaks form. Gradually add sugar a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flavoring and continue beating until very stiff. Spread half of meringue around sides and rim of plate making a decorative edge using a spatula or pastry tube. Bake 1 hour in a 275 degree oven or until crisp to the touch. Cool well before filling.

2 bananas, sliced
1 cup seedless grapes
2 T. lemon juice
2 oranges, sliced
20 pitted cherries

V.S.P. Combine bananas with grapes and lemon juice. Arrange with orange slices and cherries in meringue shell. Garnish with additional cherries, melon balls or any other fruit you care to use.

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
4 egg yolks
2 T. butter
2 T. vanilla extract
1/4 t. salt

V.S.P. Combine sugar, flour, milk, egg yolks and butter. Cook over hot water four minutes, stirring constantly. Cool, stir in vanilla. Serve with Pastel Gitano.

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