• Sarah Rainey

Zingy ginger tarts


This recipe is based on pastéis de nata, or Portuguese custard tarts, an authentic - and incredibly delicious - delicacy made from baked egg custard, dusted with cinnamon, and encased in the butteriest, flakiest pastry in the world.

The little yellow centres remind me of the sun: bright, joyful and the very essence of summer.

My version is made with ginger, which studs the pastry and explodes in zingy bursts in your mouth as you bite into the tart. To make things simpler, I also use shop-bought custard - so all you have to do is prep the pastry, fill the cases - and soon your kitchen will be filled with the fragrant aroma of fresh custard tarts, transporting you straight to a bakery down a little cobbled street in the Algarve. Sim por favor!

Makes 12 tarts

Ingredients:

1 roll shop-bought puff pastry (375g)

100g crystallised stem ginger

500ml fresh custard

You'll also need a 12-hole muffin tray

Method:

Roll out the puff pastry into a long, flat rectangle.

Chop the crystallised ginger into small chunks and sprinkle half over the top of the pastry sheet.

Roll it up, lengthways, into a cylinder again, being sure to keep the roll very tight and incorporate the shards of ginger.

Place the roll in the fridge for around half an hour to harden.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220C (fan 200C) and grease the holes in the muffin tray with a little butter or flavourless oil.

Take the pastry out of the fridge and, using a sharp knife, slice the cylinder into 12 discs of equal width, each around 1cm thick. Take each one in turn, lay it flat on a board and roll out (using your palms or a rolling pin) to a circle around a quarter of a centimetre thick.

Lay each flattened circle over a hole in the muffin tray and press down into the base. Use your thumbs to press it up the sides, ensuring it comes most of the way to the top. Don't worry if the cases look a little wonky at this stage - it all adds to the authentic effect! Just make sure you plug any holes in the cases by smoothing over the pastry.

Pour the custard into a jug and whisk in the remaining chopped ginger. Divide the mixture between the pastry cases, filling each around two-thirds full.

Bake for around 30 minutes - or until the pastry is puffed up and the tops are bubbling with a lovely golden skin on them. You may need to rotate the tray a few times in the oven to ensure the tarts cook evenly.

Don't worry if the custard domes and expands as they cook; it will settle down again as they cool. You can always pierce any large bubbles with a sharp knife.

Let the tarts cool completely in the tin before eating. They'll keep for 3-4 days in an airtight container, and can be eaten hot (with cream or ice-cream) or cold.

TIP:

If you fancy a different flavour, you could use the zest of 3 limes, lemons or oranges instead of the crystallised ginger.

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Content © Sarah Rainey

Photos © Clare Winfield, Alex Luck & Al Richardson

Styling © Emma Lahaye, Octavia Squire, Laurie Perry & Sarah Rainey

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