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Portuguese Custard Tarts Recipe

Written on Saturday, December 17, 2016 | 4:18:00 PM


Ingredients : 
- 250ml whole milk
- 1 vanilla pod, split
- 1 strip of thinly pared orange or lemon peel
- 35g plain flour
- 200g caster sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- butter, for greasing
- 375g pack of ready-rolled puff pastry

Preparation Method :
1) First make the custard. Put the milk in a saucepan with the vanilla pod and citrus peel. Heat until the milk is almost at boiling point, then take it off the heat and leave it to cool and infuse.

2) Put the flour in a bowl and whisk in a third of the milk to make a thin batter. Put the pan with the rest of the milk back over the heat and bring it almost to boiling point again. Pour the milk and flour batter into the heated milk and whisk vigorously for a couple of minutes until it has thickened. Cover with cling film so a skin doesn’t form while you make the sugar syrup.

3) Put the sugar in a small saucepan with 100ml water. Stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved, then simmer for a few minutes until the syrup is at the short-thread stage – this means that if you put a few (cooled) drops on your thumb, it will pull to short threads when you touch your index finger to it. Whisk the sugar syrup into the milk mixture.

4) Put the egg yolks into a bowl and whisk them lightly to break them up. Strain the milk mixture into a jug, then pour it in a steady trickle over the eggs, whisking as you go, until everything is completely combined. Try to make sure the mixture doesn’t get too frothy. Cover the custard with cling film again, making sure it is touching the surface, to prevent a skin forming.

5) Preheat the oven to 250°C/Fan 230°C/Gas 9. Generously butter a 12– hole muffin tray. Take the pastry out of its packet and unroll it. Discard the paper lining, then roll the pastry up again as tightly as you can. Cut the roll into 12 even rounds.

6) Put a piece of pastry into each of the holes in the muffin tin. Using your fingers, press each one down and out, working it up the sides of the hole. Alternatively, you can simply roll the discs to fit into the holes, but it won’t produce quite the same lovely layers of pastry. Pour the cooled custard into the pastry cases, making sure each is filled almost to the top.

7) Put the tarts in the oven and bake them for 15–20 minutes until the pastry is golden brown, and the top of the custard is slightly scorched. Don’t worry if the custard puffs up – it will subside nicely. Allow the tarts to cool before eating them – difficult we know, but they are better cool.


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