Toffee custard pots and Autumn food

aboveI went through a phase where I made about 50 different kinds of pots de crème for the blog. It was a delicious time! I haven’t made one in a long time, so I figured, with Autumn chills creeping in, that a comforting little toffee pot would be warmly welcomed.

And I was not wrong.

The warm little pots are indulgent and smooth, the perfect little treat for a night snuggled under the blankets. I wish that I had taken them to the outdoor cinemas the other night – The Boy and I went to North Sydney moonlight cinemas and it rained!

Insert crying emoji here.

Early grey custard tarts and mini tart love

biteThis little tart is simple, but stunning. It’s got two comforting ingredients – custard and earl grey tea – but they look super classy, so you can munch on them in front of the tv on a lazy afternoon, or serve them with high tea… they look at home in any setting.

I have a hard time turning down desserts, but tarts hold a special place in my heart – especially mini tarts! There’s something about their dainty little cases, the way there’s always just enough mouthfuls, and how you can get away with gorgeously rich fillings because they’re so tiny. So much yum! I also loved how one of these tarts looked a bit like a face once I’d taken a bite out of it!

Earl Grey Custard and comfort food

aboveI 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!

Chocolate Nutella pots de crème and chilly weather

Chilly weather is making me fat. I’m staying indoors, seeking out sugar and becoming too attached to the heater. Luckily, chocolate Nutella Pots de crème are not as indulgent as you would imagine. Below a dark layer of chocolatey thickness is a paler, lighter substance…I feel less bad about eating them because they’re not too rich, they’re just right.

These little devils are less posh than they sound. The French vibe they give off is enough to wow dinner guests, but they’re super simple…not to mention delectable! They’re basically a chocolate custard pudding thing – do labels matter? If people ask, just say they’re made entirely of delicious ingredients, they don’t need a name.

You can throw them together in 15 minutes and leave them in the oven to do their work. Pop them in the fridge while you eat mains, and they’re ready to be devoured! They’re adaptable enough to be served alongside a three course dinner, but  will fit neatly along side a casual Sunday lunch menu. Serve them with berries to dress them up, or chuck a spoon straight into them to give them a laid back scruffy feel.

Do what you please, just make sure you lick the bowl.

Chocolate Nutella pots de Crème (aka deliciousness in a ramekin)nom

  • 4 egg yolks
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups cream
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2/3 cup nutella
  • 50g chocolate

Preheat your oven to 170°C. Resist the urge to eat the Nutella. Find six ramekins or oven-safe tea cups (I’ve gone for a mix of both because two of my Nanna’s darling ramekins have broken over time.)nutella

Mix together your egg yolks, sugar and vanilla in a bowl. Set them to one side.

In a saucepan over low heat, melt the chocolate down and add the Nutella. Once you add the Nutella in it should be thicker and glossier. Once again, resist the urge to eat the Nutella from the jar.  Mix the chocolate and Nutella until no lumps remain. Add your cream and milk in and turn up to medium so that it combines. Keep stirring.

Boil your kettle now, you’ll need hot water to surround the filled ramekins later.

mixThe mixture will be speckled, so you need to keep on stirring for about ten minutes. You don’t want speckled pots de crème! Once the mixture is an even colour (with no more speckles) slowly add the egg mixture in. Make sure the chocolate mixture isn’t too hot, you don’t want to cook the sugary egg!

Once all the egg mixture is incorporated, whisk the mixture over heat for five minutes, allowing it to bubble and thicken slightly.

Divide the mixture among the ramekins. If you’re a messy pourer like me, wipe the edges so there are no sloppy bits. Place the ramekins in a baking tray and carefully pour the hot (not boiling) water into the tray, about half way up the ramekins.drop

with water
groupPop them in the oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour. If you can gently press the top of the chocolate without it wobbling too much, they’re done. Put them back in the oven if you’re not 100% sure, the water means that it’s really hard to burn them. This style of cooking also ensures that your mixture is super silky and smooth. When they’re out of the oven, allow them to cool and place them in the fridge until they’re ready to serve.

shavingsUse a vegetable peeler to cover your pots de crème with shavings of chocolate – enjoy!spoon in

Chocolate custard tart and winter weather

It is heater weather at the moment, which is a perfect excuse for me to bake; I love filling the house with warm, delicious smells! This custard tart is delicious served warm or cold, and tastes just as delicious one or two days later…if it lasts that long.

The cinnamon in the chocolate custard gives it a little kick of warmth, which is delightful as the need for electric blankets and heaters increases. Norman is relishing the new heater in our house – he stands so close to it that I worry about him singeing his fur! If Norman was allowed chocolate I’m sure he would demolish this custard tart!

eyesyawn

Chocolate custard tart:

  • 2 sheets ready-made shortcrust pastry (even though I used puff)slice
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • 3 free-range egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 250ml/9fl oz whole milk
  • 100g/3½oz dark chocolate
  • 1 tbsp cocoa
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 250g strawberries

Preheat your oven to 200°C and grease a shallow 26 cm pie dish.

pastryDrape your sheets of pastry over your pie dish so that they cover as much of it as possible. This recipe is probably more suited to shortcrust pastry, but I was craving puff pastry! Trim the edges so and use the excess to fill in any gaps that may remain. Press together the pastry at any point where there is a join. Cover the pie with baking paper and pop it into the oven with either baking weights or rice to weight it down for 15 minutes.

I love my baking weights, I think they’re beautiful!baking weights

While the pastry is baking, whisk the sugar, eggs and cornflour together in a bowl and set them to one side.

Put the milk in a small pan along with the chocolate, cocoa and cinnamon over a medium heat. Once the ingredients have combined turn the heat up and bring chocolate mix to boil. Allow to boil for about two minutes, stirring it regularly so it doesn’t burn, then remove from heat.

Take your pastry out the oven and set it to one side to cool.

Allow the chocolate mixture to cool for five minutes before adding the egg mixture to the pan and returning it to the heat. Whisk the chocolate mixture to remove any lumps and allow it to thicken. Remove the custard from the heat and allow it to cool slightly.

chocolatePour the warm custard into your base, (spreading it out as evenly as possible) and return it to the oven for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop the tops off the strawberries and slice them thinly in preparation for when the tart comes out of the oven. When you do remove the tart from the oven, work quickly, fanning the strawberries out around the tart, making sure each slice overlaps the last one slightly.

strawbs

As you’re doing this, press them into the custard lightly so that they stay in place.

overlaptart

To serve you can glaze with a syrup made from 1 tbsp strawberry jam and ¼ cup water heated over the stove and brushed onto the strawberries, or simply sprinkle with icing sugar.

wholeflowers