...what a couple of weeks its been! i seriously don't feel like i have had a single day off. work has been taking up a lot of time recently what with traveling the region to train new starters and organising a charity event (which was a HUGE success!).
the aim of the event was to get all of my colleagues to attend so that we could give them an update on whats going on within the company, raise colleague moral and also raise some money for charity. we were hoping to have at least 40 colleagues turn up to the night and we were over whelmed when 90 people turned up.
the evening was brilliant, we cooked a host of foods for the masses, i did a sampling session with some of the new lines we are going to be selling AND we raised almost £400 for Hope4Kids.
had my oven of been working we may have raised even more but sadly it decided to break 3 days before hand so i was unable to bake a single thing...ITS BEEN 3 WEEKS SINCE MY LAST BAKE!!
starting to have withdrawal symptoms now but never fear, the engineer is coming tomorrow to repair it and then i have the weekend off to bake to my hearts content.
a few weeks ago (when the oven was working) i watched the episode of bake off where they were asked to create egg custard tarts. until this point i had never actually had one, so decided to check out the recipe and give them a bash the following morning.
lucky for me i had everything i needed in the cupboard so didn't need to go shopping.
you will need:
for the sweet pastry:
165g plain flour
25g ground almonds
120g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
55g caster sugar
1 medium egg
for the custard filling:
700ml full fat milk
7 medium egg yolks at room temperature
90g caster sugar
freshly grated nutmeg
firstly you need to make the pastry. start by mixing the flour and almonds together in a large bowl.
add the butter and rub together until it resembled fine bread crumbs.
stir in the caster sugar. now i decided to try something here, rather than using normal caster sugar i decided to go for a golden caster. i wanted the pastry to go really golden and have a slight caramel taste to it.
then break the egg into the bowl. work the egg in with your fingers and bring it all together until it becomes a soft dough.
tip the mixture onto a lightly floured work surface and shape it into a ball...
...then flatten the ball with your fingers so it forms a disc. wrap with cling film and stick it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
have a tidy up, make a coffee and prepare the cutter you are going to use.
after 30 minutes remove the pastry from the fridge and roll it out on a floured worktop. the recipe i used calls for the pastry to be rolled to 5mm thickness, however when i made my first batch i found that going that thin made it very tricky to handle so i went slightly thicker and made 10 cases rather than 12.
once rolled use an 11cm fluted round cutter and stamp out discs, carefully ease them into a muffin tin. as you can tell from the picture above i didn't have any fluted cutters so i went for a cutter than looks like it fell out of the 1980s, but it worked a treat!
place the muffin tin into the fridge to allow the pastry to cool back down. preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas 6.
to make the custard gently heat the milk in a pan until just below the boiling point...
whilst the milk is warming, whisk together the eggs and caster sugar until it becomes pale and creamy. such a lovely colour!
again for the custard i used golden caster sugar to add a little colour.
pour the warm milk onto the egg mixture whilst whisking, you want to do this slowly in a steady stream. whisk until the mixture is smooth with tiny little bubbles.
pour this mixture into a pouring jug, it makes the process of adding to the pastry a whole lot easier!
i found that this recipe makes ALOT of custard and i was left with half of what was made. i used the left overs to make bread pudding but you could probably double the pastry and make 2 batches in one.
remove the muffin tin from the fridge and place on the oven shelf, then pour the custard mixture into each case, going as high as you can without it going over the edges of the pastry.
grate the nutmeg over the top of each tart and then close the oven door and bake for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas 4 and continue to bake for another 10 minutes.
the next task is to be patient! one of the biggest mistakes made on the bake off was attempting to remove the tarts from the tray before they had cooled. leave them alone on a wire rack for AT LEAST 30 minutes before even attempting to remove them.
when i posted the picture above on twitter in the morning GBBO actually retweeted me and said "Will they survive the scooping?"...
...i'm happy to say they did! and they were beautiful. the custard was perfectly done, with a slight wobble. the pastry although dark (because of the sugar used) was perfectly baked and had a caramel butter taste.
needless to say they didn't last long!
Lurpak actually shared my tarts on their Facebook page whilst they were running their pastry competition, i really thank them for that! a real confidence boost.