Portuguese Custard Tarts

Mini custard tarts, portuguese style...with buttery flaked pastry encasing thick creamy custard centres.  Otherwise known as how I decided to spend a random week night...and got myself completely covered in flour because I was listening to a podcast and forgot to put on an apron.

I loooove custard in any shape/form/recipe. Recently I've fallen extra in love with these tiny little custard tarts that you can buy in almost any cafe these days...but I wanted to see if I could make them myself. 

Donna Hay Portuguese-Style Custard Tarts
 (Makes 12)

3/4 cup superfine/caster sugar
3/4 cup water
peel of 1 lemon
1 vanilla bean, split & seeds scraped*
1/4 cup cornflour (cornstarch)
1 1/2 cups milk
3 egg yolks
1 x 375g sheet all-butter puff pastry halved**

Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius (400F). Place the sugar, water, lemon peel and vanilla in a saucepan over low heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Increase to high heat and bring to the boil for 4 minutes or until thickened slightly. Remove the lemon peel and vanilla bean...and discard these. 

Place cornflour and 1/2 cup milk in a large bowl and mix until smooth. Add the egg yolks and whisk to combine. Add the remaining milk and the cooled sugar syrup and whisk until combined. 

Pour the egg mixture into a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Bring to the boil and cook, whisking continuously, for 6 minutes or until the mixture is thickened. Set aside to cool completely. 

Layer the halved pastry sheets on top of each other. Starting at the short end of the pastry, tightly roll into a log. Trim the edges and cut into 12 x 1cm rounds. Lay the pastry rounds flat onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to 12 x 10cm rounds. Carefully press pastry rounds into a 12 hold, 1/2 cup-capacity lightly greased muffin tin. 

Divide the custard between the pastry cases and smooth the tops. Bake for 25-27 minutes or until the custard is just blistered and golden. Allow to cool in tins for 5 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. 

*I don't use full real vanilla beans...I like the vanilla bean paste...a compromise between essence and the actual bean, and you still get the flecks showing in the custard

** Either I didn't cut my pastry rounds thin enough, or roll them out for long enough, or I chose the wrong brand of pastry...but I found the pastry slightly on the thicker side once it had properly puffed and cooked. Next time I would roll it out more or try a different brand...or make my own (eeek!)

Anyway, I took them to work to make sure they got polished off. Work people agreed about the pastry but they all got eaten regardless. The blue plate is the one I mentioned that I bought from the Feathered Arbour...love.

Design Resources: Sahlin Studio Paper, Travelling Typewriter Font

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