Portuguese Custard Tarts

These are perfect to serve warm as a dessert, although
I personally prefer them chilled. Either way, they just melt in the mouth, with pastry as light as a whisper and a filling of wobbly custard flavoured with vanilla, caramel and cinnamon.

Serves 4

Portuguese Custard Tarts
 4 Jus-Rol frozen small individual puff pastry rounds, defrosted for 15 minutes (covered with a cloth)
 1 tablespoon custard powder
 1 tablespoon golden caster sugar
 100ml milk
 3 egg yolks, plus 1 medium egg, beaten, for brushing
 200ml half-fat crème fraîche
 11?2 teaspoons vanilla extract (Ndali Fairtrade vanilla extract is best)
 1?2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
 1 tablespoon Vahiné caramel sauce, from a 210g bottle


Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6, 200°C. First make the custard, which is so easy: place the custard powder and sugar in a bowl and mix it to a smooth paste with the milk and egg yolks. Then heat the crème fraîche in a saucepan and, when it begins to bubble, pour it in to join the custard powder mixture. Whisk everything together, then return it to the saucepan and, still whisking, bring it up to a simmer.

When it begins to boil it will become thick, so remove it from the heat, add the vanilla extract, then pour it into a bowl and allow to cool.

When the custard is cold, brush the pastry rounds with some of the beaten egg and transfer them (using a palette knife) to a well-greased baking sheet. Now spoon some of the cold custard into the centre of each one, leaving a 2.5cm border all round. Bring up the edges of the pastry to form into tarts, pinching and sealing the folds. Brush the pastry with more beaten egg, sprinkle with cinnamon and bake for 15-20 minutes till the pastry is dark golden-brown. The filling will puff up quite a lot, but it will soon sink back as it cools. Finally, brush each one with caramel sauce to give a shiny glaze over the filling and pastry. These are best eaten as fresh as possible.

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