When staying away from home for any period of time there are things that we all miss, friends, pets, your favourite restaurant, and knowing exactly where the last time you saw the thing you were looking for but suddenly realise that you didn’t pack and now its half way round the world in a different time zone!
In 2007 we lived in Sydney for five months and having reminders of home are always nice. This was one of the first dishes that I made in our apartment in Bondi, (it just also happens to be my partner’s favourite!).
This is my take on a traditional English dish that is popular around the world. It is not a robust pudding like ‘Spotted Dick’ or ‘Jam Roly Poly’ but a lighter way to finish any meal or have on its own with your favourite hot or cold beverage. Although not a complicated dish to make getting the custard cooked ‘just right’ can mean the difference between delicious dessert and a tortuous tart.
Egg custard tarts have to be cooked slowly to get the perfect pudding. A wet egg custard is the result of cooking the dish either for too long or at too high a temperature resulting in the custard mix overheating and ‘boiling’ with a watery result. A good egg custard is allowed to set, so it is firm to the touch and when cut into has a smooth firm texture.
The most basic of egg custards are based on the ratio of 3 eggs to the a pint of liquid if the dish is not to stand on its own (like a flan) or if the dish is to be turned out then a ratio of 4 eggs to a pint of liquid is appropriate (like a cream caramel).
From the most basic of recipes we can enhance them to make them richer and add a fuller flavour with the addition of extra ingredients. So having gotten the custard right if the tartlet case does not match the excellence of the filling it can add a dampener to the dish. Getting pastry right has been said to be an art. In this recipe I have used a sweet pastry that with the addition of almonds and corn meal gives a warm rich colour and nutty flavour to the end result. Always remember the nutmeg as this just finishes the tart off a treat.