Flirty Custard Tarts

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Makes 3 miniature tarts, 10cm ones

For the pastry

115g plain flour 

75g diced unsalted butter, as cold as possible 

40g icing sugar 

1 fresh organic egg yolk, ( keep the egg white for the italian meringue uncovered in a cupboard: meringues prefer eggs that have been cracked the day before as some of the water from the egg white will evaporate out!)

For the custard filling

125ml double cream

125ml whole milk

1 vanilla pod, split in half 

zest of 1 lemon 

100g golden caster sugar 

8 fresh organic egg yolks, freeze the leftover whites 

For the Italian Meringue

1 egg white, use the one from yesterday's pastry recipe

60g caster sugar



Whizz the flour and icing sugar in a food processor to get rid of lumps, throw in the butter until the mixture is the consistency of desiccated coconut. Finally pour In the egg yolk until the mixture moulding slight.

Tip everything out onto your workbench and push into 3 identical patty shapes. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for a few hours. 

Take out the pastry and unwrap the patties, place between two piece of parchment paper and roll out as thin as you can. Place back into the fridge until stiff. Then remove one piece of parchment, flip over and lie over the top of your miniature tart cases. Press into the tin and then peel off the second piece of parchment. Patch up any holes you may have and place the lined tin into the freezer overnight. 

Bake at 170c for 10-15mins until the tart base is a nice golden colour. Remove and pop any bubbles that may have risen. 

Now get to work on the custard filling. 

Place the cream, milk, vanilla pod & lemon zest in a pan and bring to the boil. Meanwhile beat the egg yolks and sugar with an electric beater until very pale and fluffy. Then pour some of the milk mixture over the eggs, whisking vigorously (this raises the temperature of the egg mix without shocking/scrambling it) and then pour in the rest and whisk. Strain the custard into three containers, and skim off any frothiness.  

Add food dye to the custard containers to colour them however you like. Then pour into your tart cases and bake at 170c for 20mins, or until there is just a slight wobble in the centre and the custard is definitely set. 

Now, whilst the tarts cool, you need to prepare your italian meringue. 

Place your sugar in a small pan with a lip, add a dribble of water and stir until the mixture resembles wet sand. Then place on a medium heat with a thermometer measuring temperature. 

Meanwhile place your egg white in a stand mixer, or use an electric whisk (make sure you have someone to help with the next step). Whisk until soft peaks. Once the sugar has reached 116c then slowing pour the sugar over the eggs whilst whisking until stiff peaks. 

Spread over the top of the custard tarts, and using a small teaspoon makes ripples. Then using a blowtorch gently brown the ripples & edges of the meringue. 

Decorate however you'd like, with rose petals, fresh fruit, sugar glass, chocolate shards, caramel brittle, caramelised fruit..... 


Cicely xx

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