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Vanilla custard and burnt-toffee tart

Crack the brittle caramel top and sink your spoon into blissfully smooth custard. It doesn't get much better than this.

By Lisa Featherby
  • Serves 8
  • 20 mins preparation
  • 1 hr 15 mins cooking plus resting, chilling, cooling
Vanilla custard and burnt-toffee tart

A blowtorch will give best results with the toffee crust here, although a hot grill will work in a pinch. Either way, the heat will soften the custard, so it's best to let it firm up in the fridge for half an hour before cutting it. We're not ruling out cracking the crust and digging in straight away – just know that things could get messy, so have plenty of napkins on hand.

Ingredients

  • Caster sugar, for dusting
Sweet pastry
  • 250 gm (1⅔ cups) plain flour
  • 60 gm pure icing sugar, sifted
  • 100 gm chilled butter, coarsely chopped
  • 2 egg yolks, plus 1 beaten eggwhite, for brushing
Vanilla custard
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 280 gm caster sugar
  • 350 gm double cream
  • 270 ml pouring cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped

Method

  • 1
    For sweet pastry, place flour on a work surface, add sugar and butter and rub in butter with your fingertips until coarse crumbs form. Add yolks, 2 tbsp iced water and a pinch of salt and lightly knead with the heel of your hand until the pastry just comes together. Flatten into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate to rest (2 hours). Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface to 5mm thick and line a 23cm-diameter, 3-3.5cm-deep loose-bottomed fluted tart tin, trim edges and chill until firm (2 hours).
  • 2
    For vanilla custard, whisk egg yolks and sugar in a bowl to combine. Add creams and vanilla and whisk to combine, then transfer to a jug and refrigerate until froth settles (30 minutes), then skim froth from surface and strain mixture through a fine sieve.
  • 3
    Preheat oven to 190°C. Blind-bake tart until golden on the edges (15-20 minutes), remove paper and weights and bake until golden (5-6 minutes). Reduce oven to 140°C, brush base with eggwhite, bake for 1 minute to seal, then pour cream mixture into pastry case and bake until just set with a very slight wobble in the centre (40-50 minutes). Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate to chill (1 hour). Dust with sugar and caramelise top with a blowtorch. Serve warm, or refrigerate to firm up (30 minutes) before serving.
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  • Author: Lisa Featherby