24 Sept 2009

Bring on the tarts!

Best enjoyed warm and crisp from the oven …served with a jug of maple syrup and cream

Time to down tools!  Well it can't be all dig, dig, weed, water, prune, now can it?  If there's one thing I find as satisfying as watching seeds grow into food, it's cooking.  Usually that's of the necessary feed-the-family kind (soups, roasts, stews, stir-frys, the occasional pudding - salad doesn't count) which I'm not knocking - hey, if something has to be done, you may as well enjoy it.  But, every so often, I get a real urge to do some slow-down-cooking, the kind that you have to not rush, the cake-y non-essential, put some feelgood music on kind (current fave is Norah Jones), and pour the love into what you're creating. These custard tarts definitely tick that box – and luckily I don't have to eat them all by myself otherwise I might have a teensy problem squeezing back into the greenhouse.

I know you'll be tempted so I've added a printable recipe here  – assuming you won't want your laptop covered in flour.  

Here comes the confession:  This is not my original recipe! - can anyone lay claim to that? However, over time I have fine tuned it from a number of sources to finish up the way I like 'em.  Really good ingredients will add to the whole happiness factor:  organic flour and milk, fresh laid eggs, cream, natural unbleached sugar, high quality vanilla extract – but I'm guessing you've all got these already, huh?  Occasionally I cheat with this recipe and use Bird's Custard Powder instead of cornflour, but that's okay in my book because Mr Bird created his custard powder out of love for his wife who longed to eat custard but was allergic to eggs.  (Sigh! What a lovely man.  I guess making millions had nothing to do with it… )

Don't be put off by the length of the recipe - it's just making the custard and rolling out the pastry.  It takes a little over an hour, leaving plenty of time for a sit down with a good book or magazine and a cup of tea.  And the finished result looks (and tastes) just beautiful - even if it has nothing to do with gardening.


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