Monday, September 22, 2008

Custard-filled Tarts

These dainty, sealed tartlets contain a smooth vanilla custard. Recipe makes 15 tarts.


2 cups all-purpose (plain) flour
4 ounces (125 g) unsalted butter, chilled and diced
8 teaspoons caster sugar
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Icing sugar, to dust
2 egg yolks
8 teaspoons white sugar
8 teaspoons cornflour
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla flavoring essence


1. Place the flour and butter in a food processor; mix to the texture of fine breadcrumbs, about 30 seconds.
2. Add sugar, egg yolks and lemon juice; mix for 10 seconds. Add 6-10 teaspoons chilled water, mixing until a dough forms which leaves the sides of the bowl. Press dough into a disc shape on a lightly floured surface; wrap in greaseproof paper and chill for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 440 degrees F (220 degrees C).
3. For the filling, put the egg yolks, sugar, cornflour and milk into a small, heavy-based saucepan. Bring the mixture to the boil over a very low heat, stirring constantly, until thick and smooth. Stir in the vanilla. Cover the surface with clear plastic wrap and leave the custard to cool completely.
4. Roll out the pastry on the lightly floured surface until 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick. Thoroughly grease fifteen 2 inch (5 cm) shaped tartlet tins. Arrange the tins close together on a baking tray. Lay the pastry on the tins and gently press into the tins. Trim the edges by rolling over with the rolling pin or use a sharp knife. Reserve trimmings.
5. Spoon the filling into the tins. Brush the pastry edges with a little cold water. Re-roll the trimmings and cut out tops for the tartlets. Place tops over filling and press edges to seal.
6. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden. Stand tins on a wire cooling rack for 3 minutes until firm, then transfer to the rack to cool completely. Dust with icing sugar.

Tip: The tarts may also be made in tartlet or bun tins. Cut the pastry rounds for the bases a little wider than the tins. Make the tops out of the trimmings, as the recipe directs.

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