These are traditional Portuguese custard tarts, flavoured with lemon and cinnamon.
Hands-on time: 1 hour, plus chilling
Baking time: 12 minutes
Skill level: Needs skill
For the rough puff pastry:
150g plain flour
pinch of salt
25g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
50–75ml chilled water
60g unsalted butter, frozen
For the custard:
375ml whole milk
45g plain flour
2 strips of pared unwaxed lemon zest
1 cinnamon stick
375g caster sugar
7 large egg yolks
You will also need:
12-hole nonstick muffin tray
Glass tumbler of water or sugar thermometer
Step 1 – For the pastry, mix the flour and salt together in a bowl. Rub in the chilled butter, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Gradually add enoughchilled water (about 4–6 tablespoons) to form a dough.
Step 2 – Rollout the dough to a rectangle on a lightly floured work surface. Grate half of the frozen butter over the bottom two thirds of the dough. Fold down the top third and fold up the bottom third as if folding a letter.
Step 3 – Turn the folded dough through 90 degrees and roll it out into a rectangle again. Repeat the process, grating in the remaining frozen butter and fold as before. Wrap the dough in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Step 4 – Roll and fold the pastry twice more, each time wrapping the dough in cling film and leaving it to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Step 5 – Roll out the pastry out on a lightly floured work surface to a rectangle measuring 20 x 30cm. Rollup the pastry tightly, from the short side, into a log and cut the log into 12 equal discs.
Step 6 – Place 1 disc into the cup of the muffin tin, swirl-side up. Using wet fingers, carefully press the pastry up the sides with your fingers, working from the centre outwards, until the pastry just pokes over the top. Repeat with the remaining pastry discs. Chill for 20 minutes.
Step 7 – For the custard, pour the milk into a pan and whisk in the flour. Add the stripsof lemon zest and the cinnamon stick. Bring to a simmer over a low heat, whisking continuously. Cook for 2–3 minutes until thick. Remove from the heat.
Step 8 – Dissolve the sugar in 185ml of water in a small pan over a low heat.Then, increase the heat and boil until a drop of syrup placed in a glass of water forms a thread (or it reaches 106–112°Con sugar thermometer). Gradually whisk the boiling syrup into the milk mixture.
Step 9 – Put the egg yolks in a large bowl and strain the milk mixture over the top, whisking to combine. Cover the surface with cling film and leave to cool. Once cooled, remove the lemon zest and cinnamon stick.
Step 10 – Heat the oven to 240°C/475°F/Gas 8 (don’t use the fan). Pour the custard into the pastry cases, leaving a 1cm gap at the top, then bake for 15–18 minutes, until the pastry is golden and crisp and the custard is bubbling with tiny brown spots.
Step 11 – Cool the tarts in the tin for 5 minutes, then gently transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.