Recipe Friday: Bread Ahead’s Custard Tarts

From royal approval to marriage proposals, Bread Ahead’s tasty bakes speak straight to the heart. This week, we are sharing a heavenly custard tart; creamy, sweet and with a pinch of nutmeg these little tarts have caused so many impromptu proposals, they should come with a warning.

You Will Need
(Makes one large tart - cook a little less if making small ones)
250g softened unsalted butter

160g caster sugar

20g soft light brown sugar

4 eggs yolks, plus 1 yolk for brushing

450g strong white bread flour

Pinch of salt

1 vanilla pod

800ml double cream

9 egg yolks

100g caster sugar

1 whole nutmeg for grating

One. First, the pastry. Put the butter and sugars into the bowl of an electric mixer with a beater attachment and cream together until white and fluffy.

Two. Add the egg yolks one at a time to help prevent them curling, then sift in the flour and salt and mix until all is incorporated.

Three. Turn out on to a lightly floured surface and bring together, then wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 5-6 minutes.

Four. Grease and flour a 30cm tart tin, 3-4cm deep. Take the pastry out the fridge and allow it to soften a little. Roll it out on a lightly floured surface to a circle about 35cm across and about 3mm thick, and line your prepared tart case with it. Chill for 2-3 hours in the fridge or 45 minutes in the freezer.

Five. Preheat the oven to 160c.Take the tart case straight from the fridge or freezer, cover with cling film and fill with baking beans,then bake for 25 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown.

Six. Remove the cling film and beans, then put the tart case back into the oven and bake for a further 8-10 minutes or until it is golden brown all over (DO NOT UNDER-BAKE THE TART CASE OTHERWISE YOU WILL HAVE A SOGGY BOTTOM).

Seven. Remove the tart case from the oven and brush with beaten egg yolk (this seals any holes), then place on a rack still in the tin and cool the pastry completely. 

Change the oven temperature to 140c.

The filling. 

Eight. Slit the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape out the seeds. Put the seeds and pod in a saucepan with the double cream and bring slowly to the boil to infuse the cream with the vanilla. 

Nine. In a large bowl, mix the egg yolks and sugar together just for a minute with a whisk. Then pour the boiling cream over the mixture, whisking constantly to prevent curdling.

Ten. Pass through a fine sieve, if there is lots of froth on top; just spoon it off and discard

Eleven. Pour the custard mix into the blind baked tart case, then grate the nutmeg on top.

Twelve. Place carefully in the oven without spilling any of down the sides of the pastry case; if you do, you will end up with soggy pastry, which is a no-no for a custard tart. Bake at 140°C/Gas Mark 1 for about 40 minutes, until there is only a small wobble in the center of the tart.

Thriteen. Take out of the oven and place on a cooling rack. Once cooled, feed to your loved ones with a cup of tea. 

Don't want to bake them yourself? Pop along to one of their shops on Saturday to pick up freshly baked treats.