Panellets are a traditional dessert for All Saints’s day in Catalonia. They are small bites mainly containing almonds, sugar, egg (and often also potato or sweet potato) and rolled in pine nuts or other drief fruit. For my tart I used sweet potato and probably broke a few rules but I hope the Catalan people will forgive me.
Sweet Potato Puree:
1 sweet potato (approx 215g)
35g caster sugar
70g cold butter
105g plain flour
1 pinch of salt
20g almonds (for later)
40g caster sugar
zest of 1/4 of a lemon
65g whipping cream
125g sweet potato puree
20g pine nuts
1-2 tsp caster sugar
makes one 18cm ø tart (for 24cm ø tart double the ingredients)
Start by preparing the sweet potato puree. Preheat the oven to 200°C (fan oven). Wash and dry the sweet potato. Cut a cross into it on two sides and place it on a ovenproof dish lined with tin foil. Cook the sweet potato for about 40 minutes in the oven. A knife should go through easily when it’s done. Leave to cool. The peel off the skin and mash the sweet potato in a bowl using a handheld blender.
To make the sweet pastry cut the butter into small cubes. Weigh the sugar and flour together in a bowl, add the salt and butter. Rub everything together with your hands until you have fine crumbs. Add no more than 1 teaspoon of water and shape everything into a ball. Press the pastry into a flat disc and wrap it in cling film. Leave to cool in the fridge.
After about an hour or two you should be able to roll out the sweet pastry. Grease your baking tin with a small piece of butter. Dust some flour onto a kitchen surface, knead the pastry just a few times to make sure it’s plieable. Then roll out the pastry using a rolling pin and as little flour as possible. Once you rolled out the pastry into a circle that’s big enough, line the baking tin with the pastry and cut off any excess pieces. Now you’ll need the 20g ground almonds. Sprinkle them over the base and press them down either wit a spoon or carefully with your hands. This step will help prevent the base from getting soggy later.
Preheat the oven at 175°C (fan oven). For the filling mix the egg and the sugar in a bowl. You can do this easily by hand using a whisk. Add the lemon zest and cream and stir until combined. Then add the sweet potato puree (you should have about 125g), stir it in, and finally add the the ground almonds. Whisk until the mixture is combined and smooth.
Fill the sweet potato mixture into the baking tin and bake for about 30 minutes.
While the tart is baking, place the pine nuts for the topping in an ovenproof dish and leave them to toast alongside the tart for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
When the tart is out of the oven, melt the butter for the topping in a small pan on the stove or in a smal bowl in the microwave. Mix the pinenuts into the butter, then spread them evenly over the hot tart using a silicone pastry brush. Sprinkle the tart with a little bit of caster sugar and leave to cool for an hour before serving.