Thursday, 17 November 2011

Portuguese custard tarts & the willing volunteer

Its my own fault.  Really it is.  If you go and blog about having willing volunteers to test your wares, its only to be expected that in time they are going to start requesting more goodies.  Especially if you have been spreading the baking love around a number of other guinea pigs.  I take this as a great compliment, as hopefully it means my baking is yummy. So what to bake I ask myself?  I have held this little treat up my sleeve for a while now as I know a certain couple of people (Jane & Henry!!) will be thrilled if it works out, but I would hate to get it wrong. 

And so I present the Portuguese Custard Tart.  To look at, they resemble a rather shameful Yorkshire pudding with a bit of splodge in the middle, but if made right they can be quite exquisite.

Having Googled for a suitable recipe I came across the "Something for the Weekend" version by Simon Rimmer.  It looked realistic enough, so off I went.
You have to roll the pastry up like a swiss roll and then divide it into 12 pieces.  These are then rolled into little discs and you can still just about make out the rings.  They look like the rings of a tree when sawn through.  I presume the extra rolling up and rolling out add to the delicate texture of pastry.

Theres certainly nothing uniform about these little ones!  Custard made and cooled it gets divided into the 12 pastry cases and popped in the oven for about 20 minutes.  I realised I had knocked the temp up from 180 to 230c by mistake after they had gone in so quickly reduced the temperature and kept an extra eye on them til they were ready.  I've never baked custard before, so its all a learning curve.
A little point to make, I always bake on a static oven setting, rather than a fan-oven setting, as I think for baking this works better in most cases and helps prevent burnt tops.
Out the oven and cool in the tins.

Like I say nothing to look at.  I have to confess I was really worried about my two testers trying these, as they both love the proper thing, so you cannot imagine how chuffed I was when they both said they really liked them.  After critical analysis, we have come to the following conclusions:-
- Trim off the excess pastry around the top of the muffin tips.  This allows for more a more balanced custard/pastry mouthful.
- Be a bit more liberal with icing sugar whilst dusting to sweeten the pastry slightly.
- Not thicken the custard too much prior to baking, allowing a lighter custard when cooked.
- Roll the pastry a little thinner
- Last but not least, bake another batch!

So on that note I am off to the kitchen to perfect a little more and bake another batch for OH to take to work tomorrow.  Apparently there was nearly a ruckus due to lack of quantity.  And that makes me very happy  :-)


  1. Hi Kate, I am one of those lucky enough to work near Henry and therefore be tempted with one of your Portuguese tart - absolutely delicious - thank you very much. Henry thinks that they have gone a little soggy in the bag he brought them in in but I still think yummy and I am a very willing guinea pig for you :) Linda

  2. Hi Kate, I must confess that I was involved in the ructions that took place over your delicious Custard Tarts! They are to die for! The custard filling is sooo creamy, yummy! Thank you
    If there is anything else that you would like us to try we are more than willing! Libby :)

  3. Hi Kate, These are the best cakes ive ever tasted however i only ever got to taste one as Libby and Henry failed to share :( If you would be so kind as to provide another taster batch at your earliest convinience I will ensure they get shared out properly.
    PS I would also be happy to set up a direct debit to ensure a steady supply :)