Portugese Egg Tarts

Flaky, buttery homemade layered pastry and a creamy custard filling. Oh so good. 

Recently I've been hooked on cookbooks. Jamie's Everyday Superfood (bought the book!!), Michael Pollan's Cooked (which is this huge book divided into 4 sections about fire, water, air and earth), Home Cooking by Laurie Colwin (which I discovered watching Simply Nigella) and Made in India by Meera Sodha. Oh and I've read lovely bread books by Tartine and Josey Baker and another fav called Culinary Intelligence by Peter Kaminsky. I've loved reading since I was a kid and I remember sitting by the dining table glued to Nancy Drew and Enid Blyton and it was as if I was in a whole different world. 

As I grew a little older reading didn't seem so important to me- so I stopped. I stopped going to the library, stopped reading books and flipping through the newspapers, and stopped indulging in the joy of reading. Reading, at some point of my childhood, seemed useless and a waste of time- I only got back to reading a year ago when I had a good long holiday and made trips to the nearby library where I could just sit cozied up in a comfy chair in a corner and flip through cookbooks and magazines. It was so fun. 

I love reading and I love baking. To tie my two favourites together - I love reading books about food. I don't know if you do that too but I don't just flip a book to see the recipes. I actually read them like a book- which is quite fun and satisfying. I keep a cookbook by my bed and spent 20-30 min most nights reading a few pages- and then fall asleep with the thought of food in my mind. Which is never a bad thing. Reading helps me to unwind, and reading about food keeps me inspired to think of new ways to cook. There's really nothing quite like reading a good cookbook.

So here's a recipe for Portugese egg tarts- a flaky pastry with sweet, wobbly custard and a dark blistered top. The original recipe uses heavy cream- I've replaced it with whole milk, making the filling a little lighter, but still very delicious. Fill free to make your own variations- steeping tea and spices into the milk before making the custard, adding extracts and blossom water, or chocolate chips- experiment and decide on your favourite flavours! 

Portuguese Egg Tarts
Recipe from Lady and Pups 

300g whole milk 
45g sugar 
12g plain flour 
3 egg yolks 
57g sweetened condensed milk 
1 tsp vanilla 

113g + 7g unsalted butter, at room temperature 
146g plain flour 
3/4 tsp salt 
76g water 

For the custard: Combine milk, sugar and flour in a saucepan over low heat, whisking constantly till in thickens slightly. Pour over the egg yolks, condensed milk and vanilla, and whisk to combine. Let cool completely. 

For the pastry: Combine the 7g butter, flour, salt and water and mix to form a stiff dough. Wrap in plastic, chill for one hour. Divide the dough in half, flatten one half into the width of your pasta machine using a rolling pin. Roll through the thickest setting, gradually decreasing the setting till the thinnest one. Divide the dough in half. Spread each half with 1/4 of the softened butter. 
Roll up the butter-topped dough Swiss roll style, starting from the shorter end. Then roll the log of pastry in the other butter-topped dough Swiss roll style, such that you get one large log of pastry with swirls of butter. 
Repeat for the other half of the pastry to form one large log of pastry swirled with butter. Let the pastry chill in the fridge/ freezer till firm. 
Once firm, cut the pastry into 12 discs and place in muffin cups/ greased muffin tin. Let soften slightly before pressing into tin, with the sides slightly thicker than the base. Let the pastry cases chill till firm. 
Preheat oven to 220 degrees Celsius, or to the highest possible temperature setting on your oven. Pour the custard into the pastry cases, and bake for 15-20 minutes on the middle rack until the pastry is golden brown and the filling has dark brown blistered spots on top. Serve warm. 

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