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Portuguese Custard Tarts

Fresh home-made creamy thick custard with flaky buttery pastry… who could resist? I doubt many people at all (except perhaps my brother). Even people who wouldn’t normally like custard, probably because they’ve only had the runny bought custard, love these tarts.

I was only recently introduced to Portuguese custard tarts, first at work and then I decided to make my own as there aren’t any places near my house or work that sell them. I’ve tried a few variations, including the one from “Sweet Food” which I made the pastry and custard from scratch. Unfortunately the pastry turned out too crunchy and not as crispy and flaky as I would have liked and the custard was a bit too sweet.

I searched and searched for a reasonable recipe for pastry with Portuguese custard tarts, although most recipes use store-bought puff pastry and in the end this worked out best.

I made some of Bill Grangers Portuguese Custard Tarts for my Kitchen Tea a while ago and many of the guests liked them. So I have stuck with this recipe. They are tasty both warm out of the oven and cooled down.

This recipe is adapted from the UKTV [1] site with the recipe from Bill Granger.

Portuguese Custard Tarts

Makes: 12-18

3 free-range egg yolks
115g caster sugar
2 tablespoons cornflour
230 ml double/thick cream
170 ml milk
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
1-2 sheets ready-rolled puff pastry

Put the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour in a saucepan and whisk together. Gradually whisk in the cream and milk until smooth.

Egg yolks, sugar and cornflour whisked

Milk and cream combined with egg mix

Place the pan over medium heat and cook, stirring, until the mixture thickens and comes to the boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

Thicken custard

Transfer the custard to a bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin forming and leave to cool.

Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375F/Gas 5.

Lightly grease one or two 12-hole (80ml/2½fl oz) muffin tins.

Cut the pastry sheet in half, put one half on top of the other and set aside for five minutes. Roll up the pastry tightly from the shorter-sided end and cut the pastry log into twelve 1cm/½in rounds.

Pastry rolled and sliced

Lay each pastry round on a lightly floured surface and use a rolling pin to roll out until each is 10cm/4in in diameter.

Rolled pastry slices in muffin tin with cooled custard

Press the pastry rounds into the holes in the muffin tin. Spoon the cooled custard into the pastry cases and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the pastry and custard are golden.

Leave the tarts in the tin for five minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.