• Portuguese Custard Tarts

    Portuguese Custard Tarts


    For the custard

    115g caster sugar

    25g cornflour

    1 whole egg

    2 egg yolks

    275ml whole milk

    125ml double cream

    1 vanilla pod or 1 teaspoon extract

    1 strip of lemon peel


    For the bases

    1 pack of ready rolled puff pastry

    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    Extra flour for dusting



    1 x 12 hole muffin tin


    1. Make the custard first as this will need to cool and set completely before baking. Heat the cream and milk with the vanilla and lemon peel, in a heavy based pan, until it is just under boiling point.
    2. Meanwhile whisk the egg and egg yolks together with the caster sugar and cornflour until they are light and thick.
    3. Pour the milk and cream onto the egg and sugar mixture whilst whisking.
    4. Pour it back into the saucepan and place back onto a low heat. Stirring all the time, allow the mixture to thicken. As soon as you see the first ‘blip’ to show that the custard has come back to the boil, remove from the heat and pour into a clean bowl.
    5. Whisk it well to remove any lumps that may have appeared and allow to cool. Place a layer of clingfilm directly onto the top of the custard to prevent it forming a skin. When cool place in the fridge to set. If you wish to cool it down more quickly, place over a bowl of iced water.
    6. Meanwhile, lightly dust a work surface with the ground cinnamon and a little flour. Roll out the puff pastry to about a 2mm thickness and then cut out with a round cutter about one cm bigger than the diameter of the muffin tin. Place them on a tray and refrigerate for about 10 minutes – this it to allow the pastry to rest before baking and stop the cases from shrinking. If you would really like to get ahead, you could always freeze them.
    7. These are best eaten warm from the oven, so when you are ready to bake pre heat the oven to at least 250C, if you have a baking stone preheat that too. The hotter the better.
    8. Line the muffin tin with the pastry discs, and fill with the custard to about 2/3. 
    9. Place in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes until the tops are a deep brown, almost black in places.
    10. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Eat whilst the custard is still warm and the pastry crisp.