Perfect Custard Tart (Felicity Cloake)

(serves 6-8)
For the pastry
225g plain flour
115g cold butter, grated
85g caster sugar
Fine salt
Nutmeg, to grate
3 egg yolks, beaten, plus 1 whole egg (for brushing)

For the custard
375g whipping cream
90g creamy milk
2 eggs, plus 2 yolks
60g caster sugar, or to taste

Rub together the flour and butter or whizz briefly in a food processor until you get coarse breadcrumbs. Mix in the sugar, a good pinch of salt and a generous grating of nutmeg then add the beaten yolks, a little at a time, until the pastry begins to come together; you may not need them all. Form into a ball, flatten then wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours, or overnight.

Get the pastry out of the fridge to soften slightly while you grease a 21-23cm tart tin well. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface as thinly as possible and use to line the tin, being careful not to stretch it, and using a ball of excess pastry to ease it into the sides. Leave it overhanging the edges and prick the base with a fork. Put in the freezer for 45 minutes, or the fridge for 1.5 hours.

Heat the oven and a baking tray to 180C. Line the tart with foil and baking beans or rice, and bake for about 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Remove the beans and foil, patch up any holes with excess pastry and bake for another 10 minutes, then brush with the beaten whole egg and bake for another 2 minutes. Set aside to cool completely and turn down the oven to 120, leaving the tray in.

Put the cream and milk in a heavy-based pan and bring slowly to a simmer. Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs, yolks and sugar in a heatproof bowl. Pour the hot cream mixture into the bowl, whisking continuously, then add more sugar to taste. Strain into a jug.

Put the tart shell into the oven and carefully pour the custard into it (this makes it less likely to spill). Grate nutmeg over the top and bake for about 35-45 minutes until there is just the faintest wobble in the middle when shaken. Allow to cool completely before trimming the sides of the pastry and cutting.

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