Friday, 13 September 2013

GBBO Bake Along - Week 4

I feel like the Great British Bake Off is definitely expanding my baking horizons. I have a habit of sticking with what I know and so this bake along that I've got myself into is forcing me to try new things. I do make tarts now and again, my favourite being a large dark chocolate tart, but I haven't made tartlets since mince tarts last Christmas. I love sweet pastry and so I didn't even have to think what I wanted to take on this week.
GBBO technical challenge it was then....

Egg Custard Tartlets 

For the pastry;
125g plain flour
25g icing sugar
60g butter (cubed)
1/2 egg
splash of milk

For the filling;
1 egg
1 egg yolk
75ml milk
50ml single cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
30g caster sugar
grated nutmeg

Sift the flour and icing sugar together in a large bowl. Add the butter and rub together with your fingertips until it looks like breadcrumbs. 
In a jug mix together the egg and milk, and add 30mls of this to the flour mixture. Gently mix this together until it forms a soft dough. Cover the bowl in clingfilm and put it in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes. 
While the dough is chilling preheat the oven to 180C/356C and prep a deep muffin tray. This mixture should make 8 tartlets. Grease the tray and cut out 8 squares of baking parchment. Also cut out 8 lengths of baking parchment and fold into each hole. This will ensure the tarts are easy to remove from the tray once cooked (amazing top tip from Ruby on GBBO, works like an absolute charm). 

Roll out the dough to a couple of mm thick and using a fluted cookie cutter cut out a large circle (I used the largest one I had). Use a rolled up piece of spare dough to press the pastry circle into the tray. Blind bake, using the parchment squares and baking beans, for 15 minutes or until the pastry is starting to go golden.
While the tarts are in the oven beat the egg and egg yolk together in a jug, and stir in the cream, milk, sugar and vanilla extract. Then leave to stand. 
As soon as the tartlets are taken from the oven reduce the temperature to 160C/320C and remove the beans and parchment.
Gently pour in the custard and grate over the nutmeg.
Carefully return to the oven and cook for 20 minutes on a high shelf. 
They are cooked when the top is starting to go golden, they have a slight wobble and the custard has puffed up a little bit. 

After my first taste of a warm from the oven custard tart I was undecided if I liked it, so naturally I had to have another to make sure. Even after the second tartlet I was still in two minds. It is a very classic traditional taste but nonetheless enjoyable.

I decided that since I had no idea if this was what custard tarts tasted like I should compare mine to a shop bought tart. Aside from the horribly mass-manufactured perfectness of the bought pie, I actually thought the pastry of my own recipe was so much nicer. The icing sugar addition adds a nice bit of sweetness, which the shop bought one was entirely without. My own pastry was also crisper but sadly not as deep. Oh well, next time I will definitely use a larger cookie cutter.



P.s I'm off to The Cake and Bake Show at Earls Court this weekend and I literally couldn't be more excited. Fingers crossed for taste tests!

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