Although custard was not a huge feature of my childhood, the moment I poured the hot milk into the whisked eggs for this recipe I was taken back in time. Perhaps to a time when I was 13 and had just had my wisdom teeth removed and all I ate was custard. Or perhaps to an extremely hot Christmas day where a hot pudding with custard was served that was just almost unbearable.
The vanilla recipe comes from a Donna Hay supplement that arrived with this month's Living etc. The little tarts stood out amongst the other very pretty recipes, but seemed more beautiful yet more simple at the time that I knew I would be making them soon.
Almost on a whim and really at the very last minute, I split the cream into two saucepans and broke a lady grey teabag into the cream and let both pots heat slowly. Now I certainly would never advise doing two custards at once. Time was not on my side and I had to work extremely quickly so that the custards would not heat too quickly nor cool down too fast.
These little bites were moorish and delightful. I would certainly make them again for an elegant afternoon tea. Indeed, the mouthful of lady grey custard was just as comforting as a mug of tea.
These daffodils are growing just outside our front door and are a sweet reminder that Spring is well into it's dawn.
Lady Grey Custard Tarts
3 sheets of filo pastry (big enough to cut 12 rounds from each)
50g of butter, melted
Caster sugar for sprinkling
1 1/2 cups single cream
1/2 vanilla bean, split
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 tablespoons cornflour
2 tablespoons water
2 lady grey teabags
To make the custard, place the cream, vanilla bean and lady grey tea leaves (removed from the bag) in a small saucepan over medium heat until the cream is hot but not boiling. While it is heating, whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl until thick and creamy. In a separate bowl, whisk the cornflour and water to combine.
When the cream is just under boiling point (I used Nigel's instructions), strain the custard through a fine cloth and sieve into a pouring jug. Extract as much liquid as possible. Slowly whisk the hot cream into the egg yolk, add the cornflour and return the custard to the saucepan that has been rinsed. Stir over low heat for 2 - 3 minutes or until the custard coats the back of a spoon. Cover and refrigerate.
I found that if the custard went too lumpy I had to whisk fast and hard to return it to a smooth consistency. The original also called for 3 egg yolks, but I think this was a bit excessive and unnecessary, so kept it down to two.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Brush one pastry sheet with the butter and sprinkle with the sugar and top with another pastry sheet. Continue layering the pastry with the butter and sugar.
Use an 8 cm round cutter to cut out 12 circles from the pastry. Press the pastry into 12 x 25ml lightly greased mini muffin tins. Bake the cases for 5 - 6 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack. To serve, spoon the custard into the cases. Makes 12.