Calamansi, elderflower and pistachio tartlets

by Chiara

Calamansi is not much used in baking but I take advantage of its tangy taste and fantastic lemon-like flavor to make some really refreshing yet sweet tartlets to enjoy over Easter.
It’s all about the flavor and the combination of crispiness and creaminess that makes these tartlets so easy and special!
I’ve actually balanced the strong, sour notes of calamansi with the smoothness of homemade Elderflower syrup and the earthy taste of pistachios.
Elderflower syrup is something that I have always loved to make at home, because it’s very simple and it adds wonderful summery flavor to any recipe.

So, these tartlets are just full of flowery flavor with the right amount of sweetness and a citrusy tang.
However, if you can’t have calamansi citrus fruit on hand, lemon juice makes a good substitute as well!

The tartlets are gluten-free and these are all the components:

  • Gluten-free pistachio and vanilla shortcrust pastry 
  • Gluten-free pistachio sponge biscuit
  • Calamansi citrus fruit and elderflower crémeux with pistachios
  • Macaron with strawberry and mascarpone ganache

If you make this recipe, don’t forget to leave a comment or tag me on Instagram. I’d be more than happy to hear from you all. Seeing your creations makes me the happiest person beyond everything!
And, of course, if you have any questions or doubts about this recipe and/or pastry techniques in general, feel very free to write me. I’ll do my best to respond you as quickly as possible ♡

Calamansi, elderflower and pistachio tartlets

Serves: 6
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat


Gluten-free pistachio and vanilla shortcrust pastry 
50 g millet flour (or brown rice flour or the gluten-free flour of choice)
52 g cornstarch (or potato starch)
75 g butter, cold and cubed 
50 g icing sugar
20 g pistachio flour 
3 g (¾ tsp) vanilla powder
a pinch (⅛ tsp) Maldon salt
25 g raw pistachios butter
22 g unsweetened almond milk, cold (replaceable with cow's milk or another plant-based milk)

Gluten-free pistachio sponge biscuit 
80 g almond paste 50% (marzipan)
90 g eggs, to room temperature
15 g millet flour (or brown rice flour or the gluten-free flour of choice)
15 g rice starch (or cornstarch or potato starch)
15 g pistachios flour
4 g gluten-free baking powder
10 g (2 tsp) ceremonial grade Matcha tea 
80 g pistachio praline paste
40 g pistachio oil (or mild olive oil or grape seed oil)

Calamansi citrus fruit and elderflower crémeux with pistachios
200 g elderflower syrup
100 g calamansi citrus fruit puree
80 g egg yolks
2,5 g gelatin sheets Gold strength (200 Bloom)
13 g cold water to soak the gelatin sheets
170 g Waina 35% white chocolate (or the white chocolate of choice)
q.b raw pistachios, shelled

Macaron (French method)
104 g aged egg whites*, to room temperature
105 g white almonds flour
10 g (2 tsp) natural yellow food coloring
164 g icing sugar
94 g caster sugar

Strawberry and mascarpone ganache
120 g Waina 35% white chocolate (or the white chocolate of choice)
80 g strawberry puree
20 g elderflower syrup
40 g mascarpone, to room temperature
2,5 g (½ tsp) Pink Pitaya (natural food coloring)

Assembly and decoration
tempered Passion fruit Inspiration couverture thin crescents
Opalys 34% white chocolate crunchy pearls
edible flowers


Gluten-free pistachio and vanilla shortcrust pastry

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment combine butter, millet flour, cornstarch, icing sugar, pistachio flour, vanilla powder and salt and work until the mix resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  2. In a small bowl combine together almond milk and pistachio paste and mix until smooth. Add this mix to the stand mixer and beat on low speed until a dough is formed.
  3. Once the pastry has come together, press into a neat flat square and cover in plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge overnight.
  4. Preheat the oven to 160°C, ventilation mode. Line a micro-perforated baking tray with micro-perforated silicone mat. Grease generously with butter 6 tartlet rings (Ø 8,5 cm x h 3,5 cm) and place them onto the prepared baking tray.
  5. Roll the chilled shortcrust pastry on a lightly floured surface to approximately 2-3 mm in thickness, adding flour when needed so it doesn't stick.
  6. Cut out the rolled pastry with the tartlet ring to obtain the base. Place the pastry base onto the prepared baking tray. Cut out a pastry strip of 8,5 cm long and 4 cm high and line the side of the ring. Join the ends of the pastry strip and trim some of the excess pastry that is overhanging the side of the ring, using a knife. Place the ring over the pastry base, so that the pastry base is perfectly inside the ring and ensuring that the edges of the pastry base stick well to the pastry sides. Repeat the same steps with the others tartlet rings.
  7. Freeze the tartlets for at least 1h. It is not necessary to prick the pastry base with a fork before baking.
  8. Line the frozen and unbaked tartlet shells with heatproof plastic wrap and fill it firmly to the top with uncooked rice (any type of legume or cereal also works well). Bring the sides of the wrap together at the top like a parcel, so it is easy to remove.
  9. Put the tartlets in the oven, reduce the temperature at 150°C and pre-baked for about 15 minutes. Remove the rice and bake for a further 10 minutes at 160°C to finish baking.
  10. Remove the tartlets from the oven and dust with cocoa butter powder (Mycryo) while they're still hot. This prevents the pastry to get soggy. Allow to cool down completely before removing the tartlet ring. Do not worry if you don't have the cocoa butter powder, because the baked and cooled tartlets will be covered with a thin chocolate layer (see below). 
  11. Melt some Dulcey 32% chocolate (or the white chocolate of choice) in the microwave to 45°C. Brush the melted chocolate all over the base and the sides of the baked pastry shells, into a thin layer. The chocolate makes a barrier which prevents the shortcrust pastry from getting moist, as making the tartlet even crispier and tastier. Allow the chocolate to harden at room temperature or in the fridge, eventually.

Gluten-free pistachio sponge biscuit

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, static mode. Grease a 32,5 x 32,5 cm silicone swiss roll mat (Silikomart tapis roulade) and place it on a baking tray.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment combine chunks of almond paste with the eggs. Beat on medium-high speed until the almond paste is completely dissolved into the eggs. 
  3. Replace the paddle with the whisk attachment and whip on high speed, until the batter is pale and airy. Meanwhile, in a bowl combine millet flour, cornstarch, pistachio flour, baking powder and Matcha tea. Mix by hand with a fine whisk.
  4. Stop beating and add the dry ingredients in 2-3 times, sieving it over the batter. Incorporate the dry ingredients into the batter with a scooping-and-folding motion. The batter should be light, fluffy and homogeneous.
  5. In a bowl stir together pistachio praline paste and pistachio oil, to obtain a smooth consistency. Add this mix to the batter and fold gently with the scooping-and-folding motion.
  6. Pour the batter into the greased silicone mat and spread it out evenly with a palette knife, so that it is level with the top of the mat (I mean, 1 cm high, as the height of the silicone mat). The batter will cover a little less than a half the silicone mat.
    Bake for 12 minutes, until the sponge biscuit is puffed, lightly golden in color, soft and slightly springy to touch.
  7. Remove from the oven and cover immediately with clingfilm to keep the sponge biscuit from drying out and to preserve the moisture. Allow to cool completely before cutting 6 circles with a Ø 7 cm cookie cutter. I suggest to put the sponge biscuit in the freezer for 1h before cutting, so it is easier and better to cut.
  8. Place a sponge biscuit circle in each tart.

Calamansi citrus fruit and elderflower crémeux with pistachios

  1. Soak the gelatin sheets in cold water.
  2. Melt the white chocolate in the microwave to 45°C.
  3. Make the crème anglaise. Place the egg yolks in a bowl. In a saucepan brings to simmer the elderflower syrup and the calamansi citrus fruit puree. Add the hot liquids to the yolks in 3 times while whisking constantly with a fine whisk. Place everything back into the saucepan and reheat to 82-85°C, stirring continuously with a rubber spatula over low to medium heat.
    A method for determining the doneness is to look closely just as the custard's consistency. When you start stirring, you will see lots of tiny bubbles on the surface of the crème anglaise. But as soon as it is done, these bubbles disappear and they are replaced with ticker and silky waves. The crème anglaise is also done when you can make a line on the rubber spatula with your finger. 
  4. Remove the saucepan from the heat, add the soaked gelatin sheets to the crème anglaise and stir to dissolve.
  5. Add the cream to the melted chocolate in 3 times, stirring vigorously with the spatula at each addition of liquid, in order to obtain a smooth, fluid and evenly cream.
  6. Transfer the crémeux into a mixing glass and mix with an hand blender to stabilize the emulsion and to obtain a shiner and silky-smooth texture.
  7. Place some pistachios (previously cut in half lengthwise) on top of the sponge biscuit (I use about 6 pistachios for each tartlet, but it is up to you). 
  8. Divide the crémeux into the tartlets, covering the sponge biscuit and the pistachios, entirely. If the pistachios coming to the surface, press them into the crémeux by using a toothpick. If there are some bubbles on the surface of the crémeux, you can use a kitchen blowtorch to pop them up (make sure the flame is not to high). Chill the tartlets overnight.

Macaron (French method)

  1. *For a perfect macaron shells, the egg whites must be aged and at room temperature. You can do this by separating the egg whites (make sure that you leave no traces of egg yolks) into a clean bowl, then cover it with clingfilm and poke a few holes with a knife. Store the bowl in the fridge for minimum 24h and maximum 4 days. This process helps to dehydrate and relax the proteins inside the whites and create a strong meringue with stiff peaks. Set the bowl out at room temperature for at least 1h before making the macaron. 
  2. Place the icing sugar, almond meal and food coloring into a food processor and grind to a fine powder. Sieve into a bowl and discard any big pieces of almond that can't be sifted. 
  3. Whisk the egg whites with a freestanding mixer with balloon whisk attachment on medium speed. Once the whisk starts to leave tracks in the egg whites, add caster sugar little by little. If you prefer to use a gel-based food coloring,  add it at this point, after you have added all the caster sugar. The color will dull slightly during baking, so I suggest to add more color than is necessary. 
  4. Turn the speed up to high and whip until stiff peaks form and the mixture is thick and shiny.
  5. Add a third of the meringue into the dry mix and fold gently with a rubber spatula. Add the remaining meringue in two times and fold until the batter becomes honey-like consistency.  Test the consistency by drawing a "figure 8" with the batter.
  6. Transfer the batter into a piping bag fitted with a round tip (Wilton n°12) and pipe small shells onto a micro-perforated baking tray lined with a Silpat macaron mat. Tap the tray once you have finished piping to level the surface of the macaron and to pop any possible bubbles. Allow to sit for 30-60 minutes at room temperature until a skin is formed and the shells are dry. The macarons are ready to bake when you lightly press the surface with your finger and it’s dry and not sticky. After resting, the macarons should also look matte and not shiny like when you first piped them.
    If needed, you can cover the macaron batter that is remaining into the bowl with plastic wrap touching the surface to prevent it from drying out and leave it at room temperature. 
  7. Preheat the oven to 140°C, fan-assisted (ventilation mode). Place the macaron in the oven and reduce the temperature to 130°C. The low temperature prevents the macaron from getting brown-color, as it provides a perfect cooking. Bake for about 15 minutes. To determine if they are done baking, open the oven and touch the macaron: it should feel secured and sticked to the feet but the top should wiggle a little. 
  8. Allow the baked macarons too cool down at room temperature, before sandwiching them together with the strawberry and mascarpone ganache (see recipe below). 

Strawberry and mascarpone ganache

  1. Melt the white chocolate in the microwave to 45°C. Heat the strawberry puree with the elderflower syrup in the microwave, without boiling.
  2. Add the warm strawberry puree to the melted chocolate in 3 times, stirring vigorously with the spatula at each addition of liquid, in order to obtain a smooth and creamy ganache.
  3. Add the mascarpone and stir once more, until fully dissolved.
  4. Transfer the ganache into a mixing glass and blend to stabilize the emulsion and to obtain a shiny and silky-smooth texture.
  5. Add the natural food coloring to enhance the rose color of the ganache and emulsify once more.
  6. Transfer the ganache in a small bowl or baking dish, cover with clingfilm pressed on top and allow to set at room temperature overnight, before filling the macaron. The next day the ganache should be firm but very creamy and velvety-smooth.

Assembly and decoration

Garnish the tartlets with the macaron, the thin crescents, the crunchy pearls and the edible flowers.

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