How to master pastry

Turkish delight, date and pistachio tart

I am not immune to the “white sugar is the devil” hoi polloi surrounding our food media of late. I’m not a disbeliever, but I’m certainly no believer. Because in that world I can’t have Turkish delight. And I much prefer my world, where I envisage lying in a hospital bed in some exotic locale (read infection free) watching MadMen and Game of Thrones on repeat from my bed which has several liposuction tubes attached to each of my thighs while I snack on sandwiches made of Turkish delight (the posh stuff) lovingly sandwiched between two slices of Fry’s (the not so posh coated in chocolate stuff) Turkish delight.  You see, that other world has nuts and grains and whatever other few food groups you are allowed whereas my world has Donald Draper. And Turkish delight.

And Donald Draper.

I digress, this tart embraces the delight of all that is Turkish with the incorporation of those wondrous spices and dates with, you guessed it, Turkish delight. If you blind bake the base sufficiently, the tart is just as good served on day three as it is fresh from the oven. Enjoy.



Sweet short crust pastry

150g plain flour

pinch salt

100g caster sugar

100g butter, softened, cubed

1 egg


100g butter, softened

1/3 cup caster sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar

2 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp ground cardamom

vanilla bean, seeded and scraped

2 eggs

135 g almond meal

130g dates, softened in water, finely chopped

100g pistachios, shelled, roughly chopped

130g Turkish delight, chopped, frozen


Preheat the oven to 180C.

Prepare the shortcrust pastry by sifting the flour into a bowl. Add the salt and caster sugar and stir briefly to combine. Add the butter and using your fingertips massage the butter into the flour until a course crumb consistency is achieved. Add the egg and continue mixing with your hands until a smooth dough forms, being careful not to overwork. Wrap in cling film and allow to rest for 30 minutes. Roll out the pastry between two sheets of baking paper to 3mm thick. Refrigerate and allow to rest for 30 minutes. Bring to room temperature then line a 13 x 35cm rectangular tart tin (or 23cm round tin). Trim excess pastry and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Line the pastry with baking paper and pastry weights and blind bake for 10- 12 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool while you prepare the filling.

Beat the butter, sugars, spices and vanilla seeds in an electric mixer until pale. Add the eggs, beating briefly to combine then gently stir through the almond meal and softened dates. Scoop the mix into the pastry shell and spread across the base until even. Gently push the pistachios and pieces of Turkish delight into the frangipane mix.

Bake in the oven for 50 minutes, turning half way through. If you are concerned the tart is browning too rapidly, cover with foil and continue cooking, removing the foil for the last 10 minutes of baking.


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