Portuguese custard tarts
The first time I had these was in Portugal and they are called ‘Pasteis de nata’. Little did I know that the Portuguese apparently bought them to Goa as well because you can get them there. I just found out because a friend of mine who ate them told me so 🙂 and he is from Goa. You can get these little nuggets of deliciousness at every store along with the very very potent shots of coffee. Well I gave the coffee a wide berth but not these little tarts.
This method I think is one my sister sent me for the pie shells. The real method involves a bit more of work so this one suited me just fine. I decided to try a mango flavored one deviating from the simple custard filled ones you get in the stores.
- 1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornflour
- 3 egg yolks
- 3/4 cup almond milk
- 1/2 cup single cream
- 4 tablespoons mango puree
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1 sheet puff pastry (defrosted)
Whisk the egg yolks, milk and cream in a saucepan. Add the sugar and cornflour and continue to whisk till incorporated. Put the saucepan on medium heat.
Split a vanilla bean and drop it into the mixture. Stir until mixture begins to simmer and thickens. Do not let it come to a boil. Strain the custard into a jug. Cover the surface of the custard with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming and let it cool.
Grease a 24 hole mini muffin pan. Preheat the oven to 350F.
Cut the pastry sheet in half. Place the two halves on top of each other. Roll up the pastry tightly from the longer end into a log. Cut the log into rounds. Roll out each of the rounds into circles and then press the circles into the muffin holes. You want the circles to reach up the sides of the muffin holes.
Pour the custard into each tart, but not completely filling it.
Bake the tarts for about 12 minutes or until the pastry starts to brown slightly.
Remove from the oven and let it cool on a rack completely. Pop the tarts out of the pan and pour an even layer of sugar on each and brulee with a torch.
You can always reheat them in the oven if you want to serve them hot.
One of my items this year for my thanksgiving potluck was banana pudding. A thanksgiving favorite of a lot of people. I made the banana pudding from scratch – its really simple and I used fresh vanilla beans. I got a whole bunch when I was in India and they were so cheap. And I will let you in on a little secret – buy them online. You will find a lot of places that sell a whole load of beans for a fraction of the cost.
Using a vanilla bean is really simple, you slit it down the middle and then scrape out all the seeds and add. How easy is that. Then you use the leftover pods in your sugar jar for vanilla flavored sugar. Even if you just use that sugar in tea or coffee its still quite delicious!
A variation on using vanila wafers is to use pound cake. This recipe is sized for a trifle bowl.
- 2 vanilla beans
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1.5 cup heavy cream
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1 cup sugar
- 6 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 cup rum
- 4 ripe bananas
- 1/4 stick of butter
Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and use the back of your knife or a spoon to scrape the seeds out of the pod (save the pod to make vanilla sugar). Put the vanilla seeds, egg yolks, milk, 1 cup cream and 1/2 cup of sugar to your kitchen aid bowl. Whisk until incorporated. Add sifted corn starch and whisk again (You can use your hand held egg beaters for this but why not use the kitchenaid when you have it!).
Pour the mixture into a saucepan. Heat the mixture between a low to a barely medium heat and stir the mixture continuously. Make sure that the mixture does not begin to boil. You want the mixture to come up to a gradual heat and it will thicken slowly. You will notice that your custard starts thickening after a while. Keep a close watch on it from this point on as you stir. Mine took about 18 mins to get done to the consistency I wanted it. Remember as you take it off the flame it will continue to thicken in the pan because of the heat. If you want it to stop plunge it into a basin of cold water and continue to stir because you want it all to cool evenly. Set it aside to cool completely.
Peel and slice the bananas. Put the butter into a frying pan and heat it gently. Once it melts add the 1/2 cup of sugar and stir. Then add the bananas ans stir letting them gently warm up. Once they are warm after about 2-3 mins. Turn off the gas. Pour the rum over the bananas and light it. Use a long handled lighter for this. The flame will go out quickly. Let this cool as well.
Whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold this into the cooled custard.
Put a layer of vanilla wafers on the bottom of the trifle bowl. Then spoon a layer of custard. Spoon bananas – repeat. Cover – use cling film and let the film touch the top of the pudding. Refrigerate overnight preferably.