Portuguese Custard Tarts are a classic, flakey pastry filled with a delicious creamy custard filling with caramelised tops - if you haven’t had these before they’re soon to become one of your favourite sweets.
Here is what you'll need:
1 & 1/2 cups water
1 cup superfine/caster sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or 2 cinnamon sticks
2 eggs (whole)
4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon cornflour
500ml / 1/2 quart milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 sheets puff pastry
Icing/confectionary sugar to serve
So we're going to start off with making the sugar syrup, firstly into a saucepan add 1 and 1/2 cups of water along with 1 cups of superfine or caster sugar. Bring to the boil and then add in 1 teaspoon of lemon zest and give everything a good mix around. Now add in 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon or if you have them 1 cinnamon stick. Let the mixture reduce by half and become syrupy then leave aside to cool.
To make the custard, into a large bowl I have 2 eggs and 4 egg yolks so six eggs in total but 4 of them with the white separated. Then add 1 tablespoon of cornflour which will thicken the custard later on when we cook it. Using a whisk, mix well until combined and leave aside.
Now strain the sugar syrup so you discard the lemon zest and any clumped cinnamon.
Back over to the stove with the saucepan add in 500ml or half a quart of milk. Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, whisk well and Bring to a gentle boil. Then back over to the eggs add in a small amount of the hot milk to temper the eggs, meaning you slowly bring up the temperature of the eggs, if you poured all the milk in now you would end up with scrambled eggs. So gradually add the milk and whisk well between each addition until the milk and egg mixture is combined well.
Now place the custard back into the saucepan over a medium heat and keep stirring until it becomes thick and creamy. Once its thick, pour in the cooled sugar syrup and mix through. And thats the custard done, sweet and spicy with that cinnamon its a real treat just on its own. But of course we are putting them in pastry cases. I use 2 sheets of puff pastry and in a 12 hole cupcake tray. I use a glass the same size as the holes and place them over each hole. Then gently push down and push the sides out. Then fill each hole with the custard almost to the the very top, I use 1/4 cup of custard mixture for each one.
Then place them into a preheated oven at 220c or 430f and baked for 15-20 minutes or until they have lightly caramelised on the tops. When cooked I dust them with icing sugar or powdered sugar and serve them warm. Crispy, flakey pastry filled with creamy custard these are truly wonderful and if youre into baking these are a must try.