For a very long time I thought that I didn’t like custard. The custard we had as kids was from a carton and heated up in the microwave, for some reason we really liked drinking it through a straw. It was kind of thick and tasteless and I eventually just stopped eating it. My first introduction to homemade custard was when I started making custard based ice-creams. Half of the batter wouldn’t make it into the ice-cream machine, it was so good. It was a bit of a culinary epiphany. This is what custard could be like. Rich, smooth and always dotted with vanilla seeds. I still don’t eat custard very often because it’s always so hot here and I feel that there is a very small window of time to bake the wintery, rich comfort food that custard compliments so well.
When I saw this recipe for Portugese Custard Tarts, though, my new found custard love caused my heart to flutter. I was in actual love. I couldn’t wait to make them, I couldn’t stop telling the boyfriend how much I wanted to make them. I had trouble going to sleep because the next afternoon I had a date with these beauties. Work went slowly as I counted down the minutes when I could be with them. And when they finally cooled down enough for me to eat one, they were everything I’d dreamed they would be. The only problem was that they didn’t blister on the top like the one’s in Lorraine’s pictures but it’s OK, I’m not shallow.
Lorraine (of Not Quite Nigella) uses just one sheet of puff pastry for the cases and uses all milk instead of cream. I’ve used cream but only used 1 sheet of puff pastry as well. Try a few different combinations to see what works for you. I’m giving most of this batch away to someone at my work for their birthday and I have already promised to make another batch for my house. And another batch for the boyfriend’s parents. I’m starting to see a pattern here…
Portugese Custard Tarts
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 tbsp cornflour
230 ml cream
170 ml milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 sheet defrosted puff pastry
Put the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour in a pan and whisk together.
Whisk the milk and cream into the eggs until no lumps remain.
Place the pan over a medium heat and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and comes to the boil.
Transfer to a bowl and mix in the vanilla extract.
Cover the custard with clingfilm, pressing it onto the surface to prevent it forming a skin.
Leave to cool.
Preheat the oven to 200 C.
Lightly grease a 12 hole, 80 ml capacity muffin tin.
Cut the pastry sheet in half and lay the two pieces on top of each other, leave to rest for 5 mins.
Roll up the pastry tightly from the short end.
Mark out 12 equal pieces.
Cut into 12 pieces.
On a lightly floured surface roll out the discs with a rolling pin until each is 10 cm in diameter.
Press the pastry discs into the holes in the muffin tin.
Divide the cooled custard evenly between the 12 pastry cases and bake for 20-25 mins or until golden brown on top.
Leave tarts in the tin to cool for 5 mins then transfer to a wire rack.
Best eaten warm, store in an airtight container in the fridge.