I debated over the title of this blog, because technically tea is not a food, it’s a beverage. And when I was growing up, my siblings and I used to try to treat custard like a beverage! I didn’t think that “comfort beverages” sounded right though.
ANYWAY, this tart combines two of my loves – custard and tea. They’re delicious, comforting and… well, what more could you want? Both of them remind me of my dad. He loves traditional egg custard – just the smell of milk warming on the stove makes me think of him! He also introduced me to earl grey tea when I was a child…I hated it! I used to call it soap tea, no matter how much he espoused its merits!
Thankfully I saw the errors of my ways, and am now a lover of earl grey…and pretty much every other kind of tea.
I have a habit of putting tea into everything (doughnuts, cake, muffins, milkshakes, truffles), and after this successful little experiment, I’m not stopping! The earl grey flavouring is subtle and smooth, perfectly complemented by the sweetness of the vanilla bean. It also works beautifully in a fancy version of the classic custard tart. That recipe will be up tomorrow!
Earl grey custard:
Pour your milk into a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cut the vanilla bean lengthways and scrape out the seeds. Put the seeds and pod into the milk. Place the milk over a medium heat and bring to the boil. When it has boiled, take it off the heat and pop the tea bags in there to steep for 10 minutes.
Remove the vanilla bean from the milk and discard it. Scoop four tablespoons of the milk into the egg yolk mixture and mix well. Repeat two more times, this tempers the egg mixture. Pour the egg mixture in with the remaining milk and return to the stove on a medium heat for 12-15 minutes, whisking constantly.
It should start to thicken around the 4-5 minute mark, but keep stirring. You want it to be still liquid, but quite thick. The mixture should be lightly bubbling away.
In the last five minutes of cooking the custard, switch from your whisk to a wooden spoon and keep mixing. scrape down the sides and base of the pan so that nothing burns. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for five minutes.
Scoop into whatever cup/bowl/receptacle you have nearest, and eat (or drink!) with childish abandon. Garnish with blueberries for extra deliciousness.