The tart originated in England (or France) but let’s stick with England today, as to me, they are such an English treat. A crumbly shortcrust pastry filled with a creamy egg custard. Back in the day, if they were made for the rich they would have the addition of spices. Now days you can’t imagine it without them. They even (apparently) inspired the famous Portuguese version, the Pastéis de Nata. Though for me this week it was the other way round, inspired by the Portuguese tarts on GBBO I wanted to make the English version.
Also my stepdad absolutely loves custard tarts! For years when we would go to the bakery that’s what he would get. So this is dedicated to him (even if he only got a small slither that had to travel on a plane to him).
So this is my version, and let’s hope it lives up to my stepdads expectations.
225g Plain Flour
150g Butter, cubed and chilled
1 Large Free Range Egg
270ml Whole Milk
30g Plain Flour
1 Lime Leaf
1 Cinnamon Stick, broken in half
265g Caster Sugar
5 Large Egg Yolks
For pastry, sift the flour into a large bowl and add the cubed, chilled butter. Rub together using your finger tips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Whisk the egg and add, mix to form a soft dough. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface, till it is about 3mm thick! Line a rectangular 30cm fluted tin, press the pastry lightly to the corners and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Now for the custard, in a small pan add the sugar and water and heat gently. Bring to the boil, so it creates a syrup, approx 106-112C.
In a large saucepan, add the milk and flour and whisk. Add the lime leaf and cinnamon stick, and bring to a simmer, keep whisking! Cook for about 5 minutes until the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat.
Gradually whisk the sugar syrup into the milk mixture.
In a large bowl whisk up the egg yolks. Slowly pour over the milk mixture while continuing to whisk. Do this super slowly otherwise you can curdle the eggs and end up with a sweet , milky scrambled eggs! Place a sheet of cling film over the surface of the mixture to stop a skin forming. Leave to cool.
Pre heat the I’ve to 180C. Blind bake your pastry. Do this by lining the pastry case with baking parchment and fill with ceramic beans (or in cooked rice or lentils!) And bake for 10-15 minutes. Remove the parchment and bake for a further 7-10 minutes. Pour over the custard and bake for another 15-18 minutes. You want it slightly golden on the top while still slightly soft.
Leave to cool and remove from the tin. To serve, chill and grate over a little nutmeg!