I have always loved Portuguese Custard Tarts. I think I first tasted a Portuguese custard tart on my holiday in Hong Kong. When I got back to Melbourne, I managed to find them on sale at Carrington Cake Shop in Box Hill. But they only sold them on Saturdays and even then they only made two trays. Hence you had to be extremely early and I like to sleep in on Saturdays.
When Duncan from Syrup and Tang said that he was developing a recipe, I asked him if he could email it to me when he was done. He did so and I've made them twice already. Duncan has since posted the recipe, so you can go find it here.
So here are my lovely tarts.
Here's some observations and tips.
* The custard with the lemon and cinnamon flavouring is really nice. The texture of the custard also turned out well if you don't overcook it.
* Don't sacrifice taste for the sake of looks. I tried to get those nice brown spots the first time and in doing so, burnt a lot of the pastry and also curdled the custard.
* Using two muffin pans stacked on top of each other gave a really good result with no burnt pastry bases. The burnt parts you can see in the photo above is when I spilt custard mixture on the pastry. Be very careful when pouring in the custard mixture into the pastry. If you spill some, it will burn and also cause the pastry to stick to the muffin pan.
* When pressing the pastry into the muffin pans, make sure to really flatten out the pastry on the base. An air pockets created between the pastry and the pan will cause the puff to really rise and push all the custard up and out, spilling the custard over the sides so your tarts look like Quasimodo.
* Don't overfill your pastry with custard mixture. Overfilling will cause the tarts to again look like Quasimodo.
* I used store bought pastry and it's not bad. But it's definitely not as flaky as the tarts that I have tasted before. I'm too lazy to make my own puff, so will continue to use the store bought stuff. It still tastes very good, but if you want excellent, make your own puff pastry.
* I turned the oven to 250C (as high as it will go) with no fan and place the tarts to bake in the top shelf. I found that 15 minutes was about right to get it to the state that you see above. I could probably bake them a bit longer to get a slightly crisper pastry and firmer custard.
So what are you waiting for. Get cracking and make these tarts. They're delicious and quite easy (if you buy the puff pastry). Then you can satisfy your Portuguese Custard Tart cravings and eat as many as you like.