CAKE IN THE HOUSE

Easy to make and be­yond de­li­cious, these lit­tle de­lights are great for break­fast, elevenses, af­ter­noon tea – or any time of day at all, re­ally

The Simple Things - - LIVING -

POR­TUGESE CUS­TARD TARTS (PASTÉIS DE NATA) Makes 12

But­ter, for greas­ing 110g caster sugar 2 tbsp corn­flour 3 egg yolks 225ml dou­ble cream 175ml milk 2 tsp vanilla ex­tract 1 sheet of ready-rolled all-but­ter puff pas­try Ground cin­na­mon, for dust­ing Ic­ing sugar, for dust­ing

1 Grease a 12-hole muf­fin tin (un­less us­ing a non-stick tin). In a saucepan, mix to­gether the caster sugar, corn­flour and egg yolks. Grad­u­ally add the cream and milk, whisk­ing un­til smooth­ish. Don’t worry about lumps – they will whisk out.

2 Stir over a medium heat un­til the mix­ture be­comes very thick and, just be­fore it comes to the boil, stop whisk­ing, re­move from heat, stir in vanilla ex­tract and tip into a bowl.

3 Cover with cling film di­rectly on the cus­tard to pre­vent a skin form­ing. Leave to cool.

4 Pre­heat oven to 200C/Fan 180C/Gas 6. Un­roll the pas­try with the long edge clos­est to you (land­scape for­mat), dust with a lit­tle cin­na­mon and cut in half ver­ti­cally. Put one piece on top of the other and, start­ing from the bot­tom (short­est) edge, tightly roll up the pas­try pieces into a sausage shape.

5 Slice into 12 evenly sized discs. Use a rolling pin or your fin­gers to flat­ten out the discs into thin cir­cles. Press into a muf­fin tin and spoon in the cold cus­tard.

6 Bake in the pre­heated oven for 20–25 mins un­til the pas­try is golden and the cus­tard is puffed up, bub­bling and golden in parts. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 mins (they will shrink down as they cool) be­fore re­mov­ing. Caramelise the tops with a cook’s blow­torch if they’re not as browned as you’d like. Some­times they are, some­times they’re not!

7 Serve ei­ther warm or at room tem­per­a­ture with a last-minute dust­ing of ic­ing sugar and ground cin­na­mon.

Cook’s note Get ahead by mak­ing the cus­tard (in steps 1, 2 and 3) up to three days ahead and keep­ing in the fridge. You can pre­pare as far as the end of step 5 any time on the day of bak­ing. The tarts can also be baked sev­eral days ahead and eaten warmed through or sim­ply served at room tem­per­a­ture.

Recipe from The Get-Ahead Cook by Jane Lovett (Api­cius Pub­lish­ing) Pho­tog­ra­phy: Tony Briscoe

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