These simple custard pies are truly divine. Vanilla-infused custard is encased in a shortbread-like pastry and then dusted liberally with a flurry of cinnamon-scented icing sugar. The perfect accompaniment to a cuppa for afternoon tea.
- 2 tsp icing sugar
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 300 g (2 cups) plain flour
- 90 g (¾ cup) icing sugar
- 1 pinch of fine salt
- 250 g cold unsalted butter, diced
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tbsp chilled water
- 3 eggs
- 55 g (¼ cup) caster sugar
- 1½ tbsp plain flour
- 300 ml milk
- 1½ tsp vanilla bean paste
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Chilling time: 1½ hours
To make the pastry, process the flour, icing sugar and butter in a food processor until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add the yolks and pulse until the mixture starts holding together.
Turn the pastry onto a lightly floured benchtop and bring together with your hands. Divide into 3 portions and flatten each into a rectangle. Place in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, to make the custard filling, use a balloon whisk to stir the egg yolks, sugar and flour in a medium bowl until well combined and smooth. Heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until almost boiling. Gradually pour the milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture, while whisking, and whisk until smooth and well combined. Return the mixture to the saucepan and whisk constantly over medium heat until the mixture comes to a simmer. Transfer the custard to a heatproof bowl and stir in the vanilla bean paste. Cover the surface closely with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 1½ hours or until cooled to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 160°C (140°C fan-forced).
Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll one of the pastry portions out on a lightly floured benchtop to 4 mm thick. Use a plain 7 cm-diameter cutter to cut out 9 rounds, rerolling any pastry off-cuts, if necessary. Gently ease the pastry rounds into nine 80 ml (⅓ cup) capacity muffin tin holes and press into the holes to line (the pastry circles will only come a little way up the sides of the holes). Repeat with another pastry portion to line another 9 holes holes. Spoon the cooled custard into the pastry cases, dividing evenly.
Roll out the remaining pastry portion to 4 mm thick and use a plain 6 cm-diameter cutter to cut out 18 rounds, rerolling any off-cuts, if necessary. Place the rounds over the custard, pressing gently around the edges to seal. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden and the pastry is cooked through. Stand the pies in the tins to cool before gently running a palette knife around the outside of each to loosen and transfer to a wire rack.
To serve, combine the icing sugar and cinnamon, and dust the tops of the pies liberally with the cinnamon sugar.
• The unrolled pastry can be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before rolling.
• These pies will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Serve at room temperature.
Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Anneka Manning. Food preparation by Tina McLeish.
Anneka's mission is to connect home cooks with the magic of baking, and through this, with those they love. For hands-on baking classes and baking tips, visit her at BakeClub. Don't miss what's coming out of her oven via Facebook,Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
This recipe is part of our Bakeproof: Pies.