What’s not to love about this cosy autumn pudding? Richly spiced custard, crunchy, crisp buttery bread and soft sweet apple, this makes such a lovely change to the usual crumbles and pies that take centre stage once the cold weather sets in. This is also […]
I’ve been coveting my neighbours fig tree. It’s steadily ripening fruit keeps peeking over the fence and flirting with me! I’m always amazed when I see fig trees in the UK adorned with fruit. I always associate them with much warmer climates, like my friends family home in France where we once stayed, picking figs in the morning to devour for breakfast with creamy yoghurt and gooey goats cheese.
I love these rustic little tarts with their crisp pastry shells, delicately flavoured with cardamom, thick, creamy orange infused custard filling and sweet, perfectly ripe figs. They might not be the prettiest but they certainly are tasty.
I used some pastel de nata tins for these but you could improvise with a cupcake tin, just make sure that it’s well greased.
makes about 8, depending on size
100g plain flour
25g icing sugar
seeds of six green cardomon pods, crushed in a pestle and mortar
1 egg yolk
splash of cold water
200ml whole milk
2 egg yolks
zest of one orange
2-3 plump, ripe figs
Whisk together the dry ingredients for the pastry before rubbing in the butter with you fingertips. Add the egg yolk and use this to bring everything together to form a soft dough. Use a little cold water too if you need a little more moisture. Alternatively you can do all of this in a food processor to speed things up a bit. Wrap the dough in cling film and pop it in the fridge to chill and relax for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 180°c and grease your tart tins. Roll the pastry out quite thinly and use a pastry cutter to cut out circle and line the tins. Press the dough well into the tins, prick the bases with a fork and cover them with a little baking parchment and some baking beans ready for blind baking. Bake for 20 minutes before removing the baking beans and baking for a further 10 minutes to become golden. Leave to cool in the tins.
To make the creme patissiere heat the milk in small saucepan. Whisk the egg yolks, cornflour, sugar and orange zest in a mixing bowl until they are thick and pale. Carefully pour the warm milk into this is steady stream whilst whisking to keep the eggs moving so that you temper them and they don’t scramble.
Clean out the pan and return the custard to it and put it over a low light. Gently heat, stirring constantly until it becomes really thick. Spoon this into the pastry cases and leave to cool. Decorate each one with a piece of fresh fig before to enjoying.
If anyone can think of a catchier name for this then I would love to hear it. It is a bit of a mouthful, no pun intended.
I’ve met quite a few Americans who find the fact that we Brits often refer to dessert as pudding a little odd. We also refer to things that quite clearly are not pudding as pudding (e.g. Yorkshire pudding, steak & kidney pudding, black pudding) but that’s a whole other post! In America ‘pudding’ is pretty much only used to refer to a thick custardy dessert with the exception of bread and butter pudding, although over there it’s just called bread pudding. They seem to love it though, maybe it works so well because their bread is so sweet.
Anyway, I was thinking of how to make bread and butter pudding into something really special. The answer is obviously to add chocolate and use the richest, fattiest ‘bread’ you can find – cue the croissants!
butter for greasing
6 croissants (ideally a little stale)
125g cherry jam
75g dark chocolate (roughly chopped)
3 tsp brandy (optional but really good!)
1 tsp vanilla extract or paste
Grease a baking dish with butter.
Slice the croissants in half horizontally and spread the cut sides with the jam. Arrange them in the baking dish, scattering the chopped chocolate amongst them.
Whisk together the remaining ingredients in a jug, ensuring that they are really well blended. Pour this custard mixture over the croissants and then set the whole lot to one side for 15 minutes so that the croissants can soak up the custard. Pre-heat your oven to 190°c.
Bake for 35 minutes, until the custard is softly set. Cover the top with some foil if it starts to get too brown. Leave to stand for five minutes before serving.
Whilst we were living stateside I developed a tiny obsession with stopping at road-side diners on our numerous road trips for pie. I think I found something satisfyingly clichéd about it.
One of the best pies I tried was a coconut cream pie in Bangor, Maine and I promised myself that I would create my own version of it at some point. It had a very tender pastry crust and was filled with a luxuriously creamy coconut custard. Nothing like a British custard tart, which I must confess I cannot bear (Mr Colonial Cravings bloomin’ loves them though!) It was also topped with sweetened whipped cream but to be honest I could take or leave that.
Obviously here on Colonial Cravings we like to do things a little differently from time to time so I’ve had a bit of a play with the format. Lemongrass adds an unusual flavour to the rich buttery shortbread crust of this twist on a coconut cream pie.
makes 1 large or 4 individual tarts
40g icing sugar
2 6” lemongrass stalks
400ml coconut milk
1 lemongrass stalk
2 egg yolks
toasted coconut flakes and lime zest to decorate
Remove the tough outer layers from the lemongrass stalks and finely grate them. Cream this together with the butter and the sugar for the pastry. Sift together the flour and 20g of cornflour and mix this with the butter and sugar to form a soft dough. Wrap the dough and chill it for 15 minutes so that it can relax and firm up a little.
Pre-heat your oven to 190°c. Roll out the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface and then use it to line a lightly greased loose bottomed tin. Blind bake the pastry case for 15 minutes and then set aside to cool whilst you prepare the filling.
Bash the remaining lemongrass stalk with a rolling-pin and put it in a saucepan along with the coconut milk. Gently heat this until it is very warm but not boiling.
Whisk together the egg yolks, egg, sugar and cornflour in a large mixing bowl until they are quite pale and fluffy.
Remove the lemongrass from the coconut milk and discard. Whilst still whisking the egg mixture gradually pour in the warm coconut milk. Mix well and then return the custard to the pan. Put it over a low heat and whisk it until it becomes very thick then allow it to cool, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming on it.
Once the coconut custard has cooled you can use it to fill the pastry case. Give it a little shake to level off the top and then decorate it with some toasted coconut flakes and lime zest. Return the tart to the fridge for at least an hour before removing from the tin and serving.