We've already reached week five of the Great British Bake Off, and the theme this week was Pies and Tarts. Or Tarts and Pies. Can't remember which. Either way round, there were some pretty interesting baked products being made this week- and not a binned showstopper in sight!
With my own inspired bake this week, I decided to stray away slightly from the challenges set to the contestant and rather than make a single custard tart, I went for twelve smaller ones. I sort of fancied a shot at the technical bake with the mini pear pies, but wasn't sure anyone would actually eat them. As for a showstopper of tiered pies- well let's just say there's a reason my technology teachers at school weren't too bothered about losing me to art at GCSE...
This week I adapted a Jamie Oliver recipe for 'Quick Portuguese Tarts' from his 30 Minute Meals book. Unlike last week's marathon bake, this is one for anyone who lacks patience and likes to be busy at all times in the kitchen!
Before I get on with the method, I just wanted to talk through the pastry and the flavours of this tart. I used orange in the filling, and to make a caramel for the top and this worked really well I think. And in case you think I'm just just saying that because I made them- my mum liked them too. And if that's still not enough and you think that she has to say that because she's my mum, well give them a try yourself! I actually think they taste very Christmassy with the orange flavour, and it gives a bit of a 'zing' to what may otherwise be a bit dull. It wasn't all perfect though- the pastry wasn't to my liking. I used ready made puff pastry, as was said in the recipe, but it just wasn't quite right. These might actually work well though if made from short crust pastry (which can still be ready made) and I'd like to give that a go at some point.
Recipe for quick and easy Portuguese Egg Tarts
1 x 500g puff pastry block
250g creme fraiche
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 tbsp golden caster sugar (2 for filling, 4 for caramel)
Plain flour to dust
Butter or oil to grease 12 hole muffin tray
Pre-heat the oven to 200°c (180°c fan). Lightly grease a 12-hole muffin tray. Roll out the pastry until it's about half a centimetre in thickness, then cut into two rectangles. There was no real instruction on this, so I did mine as probably 15x30cm rectangles. Roll each of them tightly from the short end to make a swiss roll shape.
Slice each roll into six even segments and put one in each hole of the tray. The next part is trickier than it sounds. Mould the pastry into the holes so that the bottom is flat and the pastry comes up the sides of the tin. Mine definitely did not match the ones in the book, but they worked anyway. Put in the oven for eight minutes.
Mix the creme fraiche, eggs, two tablespoons of sugar, vanilla extract and the zest of the orange until smooth and evenly blended. Jamie's recipe said do it in a bowl, but I would suggest do it in a measuring jug to make it easier to pour the filling into the pastry cases.
Take the pastry out of the oven. They will have risen up and look like discs again but don't panic! Use a teaspoon to press the middle down again and then pour the custard into the centre of each one. Put back in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes.
While they cook, put the remaining caster sugar and the juice of the lemon into a small pan and heat up to make a caramel. At this point, I actually thought my tarts were going completely wrong, so didn't take much care with the caramel- I didn't really let it thicken at all. When the tarts are cooked, take them out of the oven and pour the caramel over the top of each one. Set aside to cool slightly for a few minutes before taking out of the tin. They can be served warm if you wish.
And that's it. They're different to Portuguese custards tarts I've had before- mostly because the filling is not a traditional custard at all! But I was pleasantly suprised, and like I've said, the orange flavouring makes these really quite tasty. So if you're looking to try something different, give these a go. Leave a comment for me if you like the look of these!
Also- I'll be back at university by the time next week's episode airs. Hopefully I'll manage to bake something- I've got a recipe in mind already, now I just hope I have the time!