British custard tart recipe
In 2006, we watched a BBC series on television that was fascinating. A banquet had been planned to celebrate the eightieth birthday of Queen Elizabeth II. The banquet, for three hundred people, was planned for June 16th.
The theme of the banquet,naturally enough, was British foods. The television programme showed various well-known chefs as they competed to have their dishes chosen to be served at the banquet.
The contestants cooked their dishes which were then tested by an esteemed panel. The dishes had to be suitable to serve as part of a summer meal.
There were four courses – an appetiser, a fish course, a meat dish and a dessert. Chefs were in teams representing the various regions of the UK.
Being from the north of England ourselves,we were rooting for the northern team and were delighted when Marcus Wareing (pictured) had his dessert selected to be served at the banquet.
Naturally, we just had to try it. I made two large tarts and everyone who tasted it was in ecstasy. It has become a special-occasion staple on our menu now.
- 225g/8oz flour, plus extra for dusting
- pinch of salt
- 1 lemon, zest only
- 150g/5½oz butter
- 75g/3oz caster sugar
- 1 free-range egg yolk
- 1 free-range egg
- 9 free-range egg yolks
- 75g/3oz caster sugar
- 500ml/17fl oz whipping cream
- freshly grated nutmeg
- For the pastry, rub together the flour, salt, lemon zest and butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar, then beat together the egg yolk and whole egg and slowly add these, mixing until the pastry forms a ball. Wrap tightly in cling film and refrigerate for two hours.
- Turn the oven down to 170C/325F/Gas 3.
- Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to 2mm/one eighth-in thickness. Use to line an 18cm/7in flan ring placed on a baking sheet. Line with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans, then bake blind for about 10 minutes or until the pastry is starting to turn golden brown. Remove the paper and beans, and allow to cool.
- Turn the oven down to 130C/250F/Gas1.
- For the filling, whisk together the yolks and sugar. Add the cream and mix well. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve into a saucepan and heat to blood temperature.
- Fill the pastry case with the custard, until 5mm/¼in from the top. Carefully place in the middle of the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes or until the custard appears set but not too firm. Remove from the oven and cover the surface liberally with grated nutmeg. Allow to cool to room temperature.
- Cut the tart with a sharp knife and serve.
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