Friday, 22 June 2012

Portuguese Custard Tarts.

Helllllloo there. This 'ere is a Dad pud. But that's kind of weird, because Dad has a thing for horrid puds, uh like trifle and custard tart and things that are squishy and wobbly. But this, these little round, rustic looking tarts, are lovely as well as being Dad-ish. 

Well I guess he doesn't just like things I think are bad....we both have a strong affection for Thomas Hardy, and he likes Bruce and his E Street Band, who, of course, I likelikeLOVE, and pastry, oh yesss we do both quite like a bit of pastry.

It's just odd because I think of custard tart as something Dad likes, because, you know, he has to because he's Northern (don't know why I think of it as a Northern treat, because it's not, but heyho.....), and it's something I would nnneeever choose. BUT...loook at theeeese, how can one not like them. They have a much higher pastry to filling ratio than a slice of the English classic, aaaaand it's puff pastry so is all light and lovely and means the wobbly, vanilla heavy filling is always accompanied by a texture that isn't jellyish.

In short these are very very tasty and likeable, especially if you're a custard tart fan, and even if you're not usually. So make them...and make a pavlova with the egg whites you have left over and feast, or...the other way round. With Love and Cake.

Portuguese Custard Tarts.
Recipe from Pastry by Richard Bertinet.

A few notes:
  • This is the sort of recipe for which the type of tin you use reallyreally makes a difference. You really want a good quality, heavy and non-stick muffin pan, otherwise be prepared for sticking and spilling and tears. The tarts will still taste lovely of course but I wouldn't risk your heart.
  • These are however, meant to look misshapen and burnt on top. The cinnamon gets sort of singed and gives a lovely smokey flavour and the homemade feel is a major part of the joy.
  • You might have a bit of creme patissiere and pastry left can either make more tarts or do what I did and freeze both bits of leftovers with plans to head into improvised danish pastry territory sometime soon.
  • DON'T be scared of creme patissiere, the name of the method.
Makes 12
You will need

a 12 hole muffin pan, greased very well

For the creme patissiere
500ml whole milk
seeds of 1 vanilla pod or splosh of vanilla extract
6 egg yolks
120g caster sugar
50g plain flour

2 x quantities of homemade quick flaky pastry or 500g of shop bought puff pastry
sprinkling of cinnamon

  • First job is to make the creme pop the milk and vanilla in a fairly large, heavy bottomed (heeee) saucepan and heat until almost boiling.
  • Meanwhile whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl until the mixture has expanded and is light and creamy looking.
  • Then whisk the flour in to the egg mixture.
  • When the milk is juuuuuust starting to bubble, slowly slowly pour it over the egg yolks, whisking all the time.
  • When the milk is all whisked in, pour the custard back into the pan and heat gently until it comes to the boil, whisking fairly often so as not to let the bottom catch and burn.
  • Cook at boiling point for 1 minutes, whisking constantly and it should thicken to a nice thick, heaven scented mixture.
  • That's it, you've made creme patissiere. Pop it in a clean bowl and allow to cool and then chill until you need it.
  • Then it's time to make the pastry or pop to the shops to buy some.
  • When you're custard tart ready, preheat the oven to 180°c and roll out the pastry in lots of icing sugar and cut circles big enough to line your muffin pan so you have a good almost-centimetre of overhang.
  • Press the pastry circles into the muffin holes and fill with creme pattissiere.
  • Sprinkle cinnamon over the top of each tart if you fancy, though it is very optional, and pop in the oven to bake until the pastry is golden and the custard is wrinkly and singed.
  • When the tarts are out of the oven leave for just a few moments before carefully removing them from the pan...if you leave them for any longer the icing sugary bits will harden and stick everything together with devastating effect.
  • Eat, I think, at room temperature, with Dad if can.

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