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Recipe

Vanilla custard and burnt-toffee tart

This crème brûlée-inspired tart is the ultimate in sweet decadence, with its crunchy burnt-toffee topping and oozy vanilla custard filling. Serve chilled or just-caramelised for a satisfying crack and silky inner.

By Lisa Featherby
  • 20 mins preparation
  • 1 hr 15 mins cooking plus resting, cooling and chilling
  • Serves 8
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To brulée the top of this tart it's best to use a blowtorch if you have one, but a hot grill will work in a pinch. Either way, the heat will soften the custard, so you might like to let it firm up in the fridge for 30 minutes before cutting it. On the other hand, you could just crack the caramel and dive into the thick, runny custard straight away! Just have some napkins at hand.

Ingredients

  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • Caster sugar, to dust
Sweet pastry
  • 250 g (1⅔ cups) plain flour
  • 100 g butter, chilled, coarsely chopped
  • 60 g icing sugar, sieved
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp iced water
Vanilla custard
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 280 g caster sugar
  • 620 ml cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped

Method

  • 1
    For sweet pastry, place flour on a bench, add butter and sugar and rub in with your fingertips until coarse crumbs form. Add yolks, iced water and a pinch of salt and lightly knead with the heel of your hand until pastry just comes together. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate to rest (2 hours).
  • 2
    For custard, whisk yolks and sugar to combine. Add cream and vanilla bean and seeds and whisk to combine. Transfer to a jug and refrigerate until froth settles (30 minutes), then skim off froth. Strain mixture through a fine sieve.
  • 3
    Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface to 5mm thick. Line a 23cm-diameter, 3.5cm deep, loose-bottomed, fluted tart tin with pastry. Prick base with fork and refrigerate until firm (2 hours).
  • 4
    Preheat oven to 190°C.
  • 5
    Line tart case with baking paper and fill with raw rice, dried beans or baking beans. Blind bake until golden on edges (15-20 minutes). Remove paper and weights; bake until golden (5-6 minutes).
  • 6
    Reduce oven to 140°C. Brush base with egg white, return to oven for 1 minute to seal, then pour custard into case and bake until just set with a very slight wobble in centre (40-50 minutes).
  • 7
    Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate to chill (1 hour). Dust with caster sugar and caramelise top with a blowtorch or under a very hot grill. Serve warm, or refrigerate to firm up (30 minutes) first.

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