In the 4th episode of the Mystery Baking Challenge, the 3 randomly selected ingredients were Salmon, Tonic, and Pickles. It was very sure that this must become the first savory Mystery Bake. I present to you: Gin & Tonic cured Salmon Tartlets! Savory Tartlets with a fresh filling of cream cheese buttercream, buttery soft cured salmon, and Tonic marinated pickles. Watch the full episode for the video instructions.
Ingredients for 8 tartlets
For the Gin & Tonic cured salmon
• 400g fresh salmon filet with skin
• 70g coarse salt
• 50g cane sugar
• 2 tbsp gin
• 2 tbsp Indian tonic
• Zest of 1 lemon
• Zest of 1 lime
• 1 tbsp coriander seeds
• 1 tbsp fennel seeds
• 2 tbsp freshly chopped dill
• 4 juniper berries
• 8 Peppercorns
For savory Tartlet dough
• 250g flour
• 120g cold butter
• 5-6 tbsp cold water
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 1/4 tsp mustard powder
Tonic marinated pickles
• 6 large pickles
• Approx. 150 ml Indian Tonic
Cream cheese buttercream
• 150g cream cheese
• 100g soft butter
• 2 tbsp freshly chopped dill
• Zest of 1 lime
• 1 tbsp wasabi or horseradish
• Freshly ground pepper
• Salt to taste
+ Some extra dill to decorate
• Baking sheet
• Baking paper
• Large plate
• Shark kitchen knife
• Food processor or Pestle and mortar
• Plastic foil or beeswax cloth
• 8 baking rings (8 cm/3 inches)
• Rolling pin
• Piping bag
• 2 Mixing bowls
• 1 small bowl
How to prepare the Gin & Tonic cured Salmon
1. Put the spices in a food processor and pulsate shortly until everything is chopped, crushed, and mixed. You could also do this with a pestle and mortar.
2. Take a bowl and add the sugar, salt, crushed spices, dill, citrus zest, and the gin & Tonic. Mix it all together.
3. Set up a plate with a sheet of plastic foil on top and place the salmon on top of the plastic with the skin side down. Divide the Gin & Tonic marinade over the salmon filet and wrap it in the plastic foil. If you would like to shape the salmon filet to be evenly thick (if you like to slice evenly thick slices or cubes) you can place some weight on top of the salmon (For instance a baking tray with a pack of beans in it or some cans. But do not add too much weight as the salmon will become too flat.) Leave the salmon in the fridge for at least 24 hours to cure.
4. Take the salmon out of the fridge and remove the plastic foil. Scrape the marinade from the fish and briefly rinse the salmon under cold running water to remove the remaining salt. Pat the fish dry with kitchen paper and slice it into thin slices or little cubes (depending on which decoration style you choose).
How to prepare the savory Tartlets
1. Put the flour, salt, and mustard powder together in a bowl. Mix it all together and rub the butter with your fingertips. Add the cold water and mix it with a kitchen tool (knife, fork, spoon, spatula, whatever you like). Turn the dough out onto a work surface (do not overwork the dough, or else your dough will shrink. Spots of dough should be visible. This will make the dough flaky), then bring together in a ball. Wrap in cling film or beeswax cloth and chill the dough in the fridge until use.
2. Grease the tart rings with butter and pre-heat the oven to 175°C/350°F. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll out the pieces of dough on a flour-dusted work surface and line the baking rings with the dough. Prick the bottom of the tarts with a fork. Put the tarts back into the fridge for 30 minutes.
3. Cut 8 squares out of a sheet of baking paper and crumple the pieces (this way it gets better in de corners of the tarts). Fold out the baking paper squares, line the tarts with them and fill with baking beans (or uncooked rice).
4. Blind bake the tarts with the baking beans for 15 minutes. Then remove the baking paper and the baking beans and bake the tarts another 5 minutes to brown them. Let the tarts cool down and remove the baking rings.
How to prepare the Tonic marinated pickles
1. Slice the pickles into thin slices or little cubes (depending on which decoration style you choose) and put them into a little bowl.
2. Add the tonic to the pickles and let it marinate for at least 30 minutes. But the longer, the stronger the tonic flavor.
How to prepare the cream cheese buttercream
1. Mix the buttercream and the soft butter on high speed until smooth and fluffy.
2. Add the dill, lime zest, wasabi or horseradish and salt and pepper to taste.
How to assemble the Gin & Tonic cures Salmon Tarts
1. Put the cream cheese buttercream in a piping bag to pipe it into the tart cases (or use a spoon or knife to fill them).
2. If you go for the rose style tarts: take 3 slices of salmon and 3 slices of tonic marinated pickles, roll each slice up into a rose and arrange the salmon and pickle roses alternately along the edges of the tarts.
If you go for the cube style tarts: Mix an equal amount of salmon cubes and pickle cubes and decorate each tart with 1 or 2 spoon fulls of the mixture.
3. Decorate with dill tops.
If you like to try more Mystery Baking recipes, check out these Champagne Cupcakes with Marshmallow fluff & Licor 43 Caramel or this Coconut, Ginger & Jackfruit tart.
Are you team roses or team cubes? Which versions of these tarts would you make? Let me know in the comment down below and share your creations with me @Talesofpastry (insta + FB) or Tales-Of-Pastry (Reddit).