These Portuguese custard tarts are made using duck egg yolks, and ready-made pastry that is spiced with sugar and cinnamon. They are best eaten on the day they are made. You will need a 12-hole (80 ml) muffin pan.
- 375 g block puff pastry, thawed, at room temperature
- 2 tsp caster sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
Duck egg custard
- 165 g (¾ cup) caster sugar
- 125 ml (½ cup) water
- 310 ml (1¼ cups) milk
- 50 g plain flour
- 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
- 10 cm piece lemon rind
- 125 ml (½ cup) cream
- 2 duck egg yolks
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 20 minutes
Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out pastry on a lightly floured work surface to a 15 cm x 20 cm rectangle, with the long edge facing you. Take the short right edge and fold two-thirds of the way to the left, then fold left short edge over to meet the right edge. Rotate 90 degrees and roll out again to a 15 cm x 20 cm rectangle. Repeat folding and rolling process two more times. Finish by rolling out pastry to a 20 cm x 24 cm rectangle with the long edge facing you. Combine sugar and cinnamon and scatter evenly over pastry.
Tightly roll up pastry from the long edge like a Swiss roll, trim edges and discard. Cut dough into 12 even rounds. Working with one piece at a time, place cut-side up between 2 sheets of baking paper and roll out to an 11 cm round. Carefully press rounds into a buttered 12-hole (80 ml) muffin pan, ensuring pastry rounds have no holes or cracks, and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 220°C. To make custard, place sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes or until sugar reaches 112°C (soft ball) on a sugar thermometer, or when a drop of syrup placed in a glass of cold water forms a soft ball. Remove from heat.
Meanwhile, whisk 125 ml milk and flour in a large bowl until smooth. Set aside. Place remaining 185 ml milk, vanilla bean and seeds and lemon rind in small saucepan. Bring to the boil, then remove from heat and slowly whisk into flour mixture until smooth. Stir in cream and yolks until combined. Add sugar syrup in a slow, steady stream, stirring constantly until combined. Transfer to a heatproof jug and set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
Spoon 3 tbsp custard into each pastry case and bake for 15 minutes. Increase oven to 250°C and bake for a further 5 minutes or until lightly puffed, custard is starting to brown and a skin has formed on top. Stand for 5 minutes in pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
As seen in Feast magazine, Issue 11, pg134.
Photography by John Laurie