Portuguese custard tarts
One of my absolute favourite sweet treats are Portuguese Custard Tarts. Crispy, flaky pastry and gooey sweet custard filling that is almost burnt on top. Sooo good!!
For a quick hack, if you use store bough pastry these delicious tarts can be made in a jiffy!
The most important part to get right with this recipe and for them to be as authentic as possible is cooking them in a very very hot oven.
This is really important to achieve the crispy pastry and burnt marks on top, without curdling the custard.
Crank your oven up to as hot as it will go and place a pizza stone in the oven for at least 40mins prior to baking your tarts. If you have a second pizza stone place it above your tarts also. Also use aluminium or stainless cup-cake pans (50mm x 15mm wells) for your tarts, and avoid non stick – as you need to get your pans HOT!
Portuguese custard tarts are definitely best eaten straight away while they are still warm and crispy – which usually is not a problem!
- 1 cups caster sugar
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 lemon peel only
- 1 1/3 cups full cream milk
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 6 egg yolks large
- 4 sheets pre-rolled puff pastry
- 2 tbsp Butter for greasing the pans
- 2 tsp ground Cinnamon
- 2 tbsp caster sugar for dusting
- 2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for the work surface
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 3/4 cup cold water
- 250 g unsalted butter room temperature, stirred until smooth
- Preheat your oven to 290°C or as hot as possible with a pizza stone on 2 shelves.
- Generally grease a 12 cup aluminium or stainless cup-cake pans (50mm x 15mm wells) with butter.
- For the sugar syrup, in a small saucepan bring the sugar, water, vanilla extract, lemon zest, and cinnamon stick to the boil. Boil for a few minutes until it thickens slightly and reaches a temperature 100°C without stirring. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly, then remove the cinnamon stick and lemon peel.
- For the custard, in a medium bowl, whisk 1/3 cup of the milk with the flour until smooth. Set aside.
- In another small saucepan, heat the remaining milk until almost boiling. Whisk the hot milk into the flour mixture until smooth. Continue to whish while you pour the sugar syrup slowly into the hot milk-and-flour mixture. Allow to cool slightly, until warm but not hot. Whisk in the egg yolks, strain the mixture into a jug, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside.
- For the pastry, mix together the cinnamon and sugar.
- Place 1 sheet of store bought puff pastry (or home made pastry - see below) on your board and brush with butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. If using store bought pastry - place a second sheet on top. Brush the top of the second sheet with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar also. Do this for the remaining 2 sheets, so you have 2 sheets of double pastry.
- Tightly roll the sheets into 2 logs and then cut the log into discs approximately 15mm thick. Each log should cut into 12 equal pieces to make 24 discs.
- Flatten each disc with the palm of your hand and place one piece in each of the 12 wells of the cup-cake tin. Using your thumb, press down into the center of the dough piece and work the dough up the sides of the tin to form a cup with the pastry.
- Fill each pastry cup almost to the top with custard.
- Put the tray in the oven on the pizza stone and bake until the custard starts to caramelize and blister and the pastry goes golden brown, approximately 12-15 minutes.
- Serve warm, with a dusting of cimmamon.
- To make the pastry from scratch, place the flour, salt, and water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix well for a few minutes until soft and the dough comes away from the side of the bowl.
- Place the dough on a floured board and work into a 20cm square. Sprinkle with flour, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for 15 minutes.
- Once rested, roll the dough out onto a well floured surface to from a square about 45cm x45cm.
- Brush off excess flour, trim and spread the left two-thirds of the dough with a about one-third of the butter, stopping short about 2cm from the edge.
- Neatly fold over the unbuttered right third of the dough, brush off any excess flour, then fold over the left third. Starting from the top, pinch the edges closed and remove any air pockets.
- Turn the dough 90 degrees to the left so the fold is facing you. Lift the dough, flour the work surface and roll the dough out again to the same square about 45cm x45cm. Spread the left two-thirds of the dough with one-third of the butter, and fold the dough as per previous steps.
- For the last roll, turn the dough 90 degrees to the left and roll out the dough to a rectangle about 45cm x 55cm, with the longer side facing you. Spread the remaining butter over the entire surface. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
- Lift the edge closest to you and roll the dough away from you into a tight log, brushing the excess flour away as you go. Trim the ends and cut the log in half. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours or preferably overnight.
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