This Mauritian dessert is very popular amongst the locals and fittingly translates to “wells of love.” This sweet treat is influenced by French patisserie. A shortcrust pastry case is filled with a silky crème pâtissière (aka vanilla pastry cream) with a sprinkle of desiccated coconut and a glacé cherry on top.
These small tartlets are eaten all year round but they would look particularly cute as part of a Christmas dessert spread. They just have this Christmas-y look to them, don’t you think?
9 oz. plain flour, plus extra
3 ½ oz. caster sugar
4 ½ oz. unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 egg, lightly beaten
For the crème pâtissière filling
2 egg yolks
1 ½ oz. caster sugar, plus extra
1 tbsp. corn flour sifted
6 fl. oz. milk
¼ pt. double cream
1 tsp. vanilla
For the topping
1 ½ tbsp. desiccated coconut
2-3 glacé cherries, chopped into small pieces
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and sugar, then rub in the butter into the mixture until it resembles fine bread crumbs. Form a well in the centre, then add a little egg at a time until the mixture forms a pliable dough. Flatten the dough until it forms a disc. Wrap in clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.
In the meantime, make the filling. Whisk the eggs and sugar until the mixture turns thick and pale. Next, whisk in the corn flour and set aside.
In a small saucepan, heat the milk until it starts to bubble/froth. Gently and slowly pour the hot milk into the egg mixture while stirring with a whisk.
Return the liquid mixture to the saucepan, place over a medium heat and stir constantly for about 10-12 minutes until it turns into a very thick custard. Once you’ve reached the consistency, immediately transfer the mixture into a bowl, then set aside to cool.
Remove the dough from the pastry and divide the dough into balls about ¾ oz.
Insert and mould dough balls into the small tartlet moulds. Don’t worry if the pastry looks thin – that’s perfect. Remove any excess pastry around the edges with a sharp knife. Place the tartlets in fridge for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180º Celsius and prepare a baking sheet.
Remove the tartlets from the fridge and carefully prick the bottom and sides of the shells with a fork. Place the moulds on the baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the tartlets turn golden. Leave to cool on a wired rack.
Finish the filling by whisking the double cream, vanilla and 1 tbsp. caster sugar together until the mixture forms soft peaks. Next gently fold in the custard. Whisk again until the mixture thickens. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes to set.
Remove the tartlets from the moulds. Using a piping bag or a spoon, fill the cases with the crème pâtissière. Next, sprinkle on top the coconut and place a piece of cherry on top. Leave in the fridge until ready to serve.