It’s pastry week on GBBO, and I know that a lot of people find pastry difficult- especially that dreaded “soggy bottom”. I have extremely cold hands, and apparently this is ideal for making pastry, but unfortunately making pastry is one thing I don’t find particularly rewarding. Bread is much more fun because kneading allows you to get out any pent up frustration. However, I am doing a GBBO series, and so pastry you shall have!
I had many, many ideas on what to do with my pastry, but I’m also aware that a lot of you may never have made pastry from scratch before. So, I decided to go with a simple short crust pastry, and seasonal filling.
The pastry shells contain a beautiful, rich, and creamy almond flavoured custard (which you shall be making from scratch), and plums. Plums are now back in season, and so I really encourage you to make the most of them- they’re a pretty underrated fruit. As well as the tarts I have a bonus recipe for you all: a baked custard using up your leftovers. Simple, delicious, and almost like a crème brulee. In fact, you could always whap out a blow torch and some sugar and transform it into one…
- 4oz plain flour
- 1oz stork
- 1oz trex (it’s a vegetable fat; I use it because it gives a great short and crumbly texture to your pastry)
- Cold water (ice cold)
- 75ml double cream
- 75ml milk
- Seeds of 1/2 vanilla pod
- 1 egg
- 42g caster sugar
- 1 1/2 large plums, cut into slices
- 1tsp almond essence
- Let’s start with the pastry: add the flour into a large mixing bowl. Cut the stork and trex into small cubes, and then add these to the flour. Rub the fat into the flour with your fingertips, until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Use a light hand, and don’t over-handle the pastry. If the fat all melts then you’ll lose the short texture of the end product. Once you have a mix resembling bread crumbs then add in your water; this will literally be 1/8th-1/4 of a cup, not much at all. Use a fork to stir it in, until the mix begins to comes together, with some dry sandy mixture in the bottom of the bowl. This is the sign you have it just right. Gently use your hands to form this into a ball, again being careful to not handle it too much. Wrap in cling film and chill it in the fridge for 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 190*c, and grease four loose bottomed tart cases- or even one bigger tin if you don’t have these.
- Cut the pastry into four, and then roll out each quarter. Take one of the tart cases and lay the pastry over it, then gently shape it to the tin, and trim the edges. Repeat with the other three cases. Prick the bottom of each pastry case with a fork a few times. Place a handful of baking beans into each case and then pop them into the oven for 10-15 minutes to blind bake (preventing a soggy bottom). Remove from the oven and put to one side, turning the oven heat down to 160*c.
- Now for the custard: in a small pan bring the cream, milk, and vanilla pod seeds to the boil. Whilst it reaches the boil whisk together the egg and sugar in a large bowl, and add in the almond essence. Once the cream mix is boiling immediately remove from the heat and pour into the eggs, whisking continuously.
- Into each pastry case lay the plum slices, and then pour the custard over the fruit. Place the tarts into the oven for 25-30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool before gently removing from the cases. Once completely cold place into the fridge for at least 2 hours, or until needed.
- Serve with ice cream, double cream, or mascarpone…
TIP! Got leftover custard? Simply pour into one or two ramekins and bake in the oven with the tarts for 20-30 minutes.