MrsDrWho's dad is very particular about what he has for dessert: lemon tarts, milk chocolate tasty bites, steamed puddings, lemon cake, custard.... and so I made custard tarts. The idea for the pastry came from Jamie Oliver's Portuguese Custard Tarts and the custard filling is, well, custard filling. They turned out extremely well, and I might make them again this week. There are only two parts: the custard which is made with real egg yolks, not custard powder, is relatively foolproof, and the pastry, which is shop bought puff pastry tizzied up. Mrs Reno gave me some of her chickens' eggs, so my custard is naturally very yellow.
Small Custard Tarts makes 12
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 2 tbspn cornflour, or corn starch
- 1/2 cup thickened or heavy cream
- 2/3 cup milk
- 2 tspn vanilla extract
- 1 sheet of puff pastry, defrosted
- 2-3 tspn caster sugar
- 1/2 tspn cinnamon
- 1/2 tspn nutmeg
- a little butter to grease the tin
First make the custard, and while it cools in the fridge, preheat the oven to 190*C and make the pastry cases. You will need a 12 hole muffin tin.
Put the egg yolks, sugar and corn flour into a saucepan (not on the heat, just on the bench) and whisk together, then slowly whisk in the combined cream and milk till smooth.
Place the saucepan onto a medium heat and whisk for about 10 minutes until it comes to the boil. You must commit to the 10 minutes, more or less, and whisk thoroughly and surely all the time. As soon as it boils, remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract. Now here is the good part: push the custard through a sieve to remove any lumps or little pieces of egg. A perfectly smooth mixture!! Cover the surface with clingwrap and refrigerate till cool.
Preheat the oven to 190*C now.
Cut the pastry sheet in half. Mix the sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon together and then sprinkle over one half. I spread it out with my widely serrated bread knife. Place the plain half on top and press down gently.
Roll the pastry up firmly, starting at the shortest side. I found that I needed to stretch the bottom sheet a little so that it would wrap around at the end. The photo shows it more clearly I think. I used my fingers to seal the edge a little, and then I cut the roll of pastry into 1cm slices more or less. Save the end pieces if you have any, they are still OK to use, so that you have 12.
On a floured surface, roll out each slice into a 10cm circle. 9cm is fine, and so is 11, as long as they aren't LP size!! I found using just the end of the rolling pin made it easier to manipulate and roll the slices. You should see the spiral created by the spices and sugar form as you roll. If the end piece of the coiled pastry is loose, just tuck it underneath and continue to roll, and it will be incorporated right into the rest of the pastry.
Grease the 12 hole muffin tin well and gently press the pastry into each hole. Pleat the edges to make them fit. The end pieces rolled out to make slightly smaller circles, you can see one at the top left of the centre photo. Then fill the cases with the cooled custard. My mixture divided evenly into 1 tablespoon (20ml) per case. Don't panic, it looks such a small amount but the pastry case will shrink on baking.
Bake for 20-25 minutes. I checked after 20 minutes and mine were done. They should have came away from the side and you should be able to lift one up and check that the base is golden-ish. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes and then move to a rack. I love the swirls that are still visible in the cooked base.
I served them topped with banana and Morello cherries and a little spoonful of cream. They are delicious morsels. I have always been a little afraid of custard tarts but these were not scary at all.