Ever since my successful foray into pastry last week, I’ve been hungering to test my luck even further (hungering..geddit?!).
Y’know, just to prove that it wasn’t a fluke.
This time my offering to the pie gods comes in baked custard form.
These were a particular childhood favourite although I can’t imagine why because my memories all involve slightly soggy, congealed tarts dug out of a dirty paper bag (remember when bakeries sold you things in grease-spotted paper bags rather than cartons?).
Still, my love for this teatime classic remains strong so I gave ’em a whirl.
Despite the stigma attached to pastry making, these are surprisingly easy to put together. It’s just a plain custard baked in individual pastry cases.
Of course you can buy prepared pastry shells but that’s cheating and we don’t condone that sort of behaviour on TMBL (says the woman who last night emptied a can of soup into a pan and declared: “ugh, cooking is so much work“)
The custard has a nice depth to it thanks to the addition of bay leaves and a sprinkling of nutmeg on top. It’s definitely not the bland pudding I remember from my youth.
Turns out there are some good things about getting older.
I’ll remember that next time my knees fail me.
Baked Custard Tarts (makes 8)
- 2 cups flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill’s gluten-free but any pastry flour will do)
- 1/2 cup chilled butter
- 6 tbsps cold water
- 2 tbsps coconut palm sugar (or whatever sugar you have to hand)
- In a large bowl combine the sugar and flour.
- Cut the butter into tiny cubes and rub these into the dry ingredients with your fingertips to form a breadcrumb-like mixture.
- Add the water, a tablespoon at a time, and mix it in with a fork until the dough comes together.
- Knead in the bowl and form it into a ball.
- Transfer the dough ball to a flat, floured surface. Using a rolling pin roll it out to about an inch thickness.
- At this point you can use a suitable implement to cut circles in your dough. I was making heart-shaped pastries so I used a heart shaped pastry cutter but you can just use an ordinary muffin pan and cut circular shapes.
- Carefully insert pastry into a greased muffin tray. Don’t worry if it spills over the edges, just trim to fit with a knife. It should make around 8 pastry shells.
- Bake at 375 for 10 minutes. If you have them, now is a good time to use baking beans to weigh it down as it cooks. I don’t own any (I know – shocker!) so did without.
While the shells are cooking start on your filling…
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3 tbsps honey
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 egg
- 5 egg yolks
- Simmer the cream, honey and bay leaves over a medium-heat for six minutes. It should be bubbling gently but not boiling.
- Remove the bay leaves
- Whisk in egg and egg yolks and keep whisking until smooth.
- Pour the liquid into each pastry shell. I used about 4 tbsps in each.
- Bake at 375 for 10 minutes until it is firm but still a little wobbly. It will continue to set as it cools.
- When cool, sprinkle with nutmeg and transfer to fridge to chill completely.