Custard Tarts and Cooking Lesson

Have you ever had a Portuguese custard tart? They are among my favourite desserts and I spend way too much money on them in the nearby Portuguese bakery.

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Amazing evening spent at Just Be Cooking class :). And you don’t leave empty handed!

As is customary with me, I decided to get my hands on a good custard recipe so I could make them at home. Enter my good friend Maria Rozynska, the founder of Just Be Cooking cooking school that teaches a variety of ethnic cooking classes accompanied by live singing from that particular heritage. I signed up for a Portuguese class taught by lovely Carla Ramos from Table to Share in Toronto.

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Brightly lit and welcoming space is awaiting the students’ arrival, fully set up with everything needed for the class

Great experiences are even better when shared with good friends, so my friend and I set off for an evening at the cooking class. I did not exactly know what to expect and went with an open mind and boy, I was not disappointed! To put it in a nutshell, I had an amazing evening! The class was very well set up and both Maria and Carla and are extremely warm and engaging. We were given printed recipes of every dish served that evening (you actually get a proper dinner at the end of your class and we were serenaded by the talented John Ferreria during our meal). Carla taught us to make silky and mouthwatering custard and fed us fire grilled chorizo, Cod Braz (a cod, potato and egg dish) with fresh corn bread and crispy green salad on the side.

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Yummy dinner

For dessert were the custard tarts that we laboured over previously and we took the rest of them to go, packed in lovely individual boxes. With the permission of the lovely hostesses of the class, I am sharing with you Carla’s custard recipe.

NOTES: we used pre-made flaky pastry as a time and sanity saving measure and I suggest you do the same.

The ingredients:

  • 450 g puff pastry (1 roll store bought)
  • 1 cup whole milk, divided
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cups flour (sieved)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2″ x 1″ lemon peel

The steps: 

  1. Grease a muffin pan with butter
  2. On a floured surface roll our the dough with a rolling pin in rectangle (approximately 10″ x 15″)
  3. Sprinkle dough with water and roll it into a sausage with your hands
  4. Cut the sausage into 1″ pieces
  5. Shape the dough pieces into rounds and place one into each muffin cup, shaping it with your fingers to fully line the mouldimg_4078
  6. Put the tray in the fridge to chill while you prepare the filling
  7. Place the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 500F (if your oven does not reach that temperature, preheat to the maximum available to you)
  8. Mix sugar and water and stir until sugar is fully dissolved
  9. Bring the mix to boil over low heat and cook without stirring for 3 minutes, set the syrup asideimg_41231
  10. Mix flour with 1/4 cup milk and whisk together to create a smooth paste, set aside
  11. In a small pot add the cinnamon stick and lemon peel to remaining milk and bring to a boil
  12. Turn off the heat and add the flour mixture whisking it all together until smooth
  13. Gently pour the sugar syrup into the flour and milk mixture, constantly whisking to avoid the lumps
  14. Let it cool for 10 minutes
  15. After the mixture cools off, mix in the egg yolks and whisk it all togetherimg_4098
  16. Pour the custard mixture through the strainer into a jar or a large measuring cup
  17. Fill the tart shells with custardimg_41251
  18. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the tops are caramelized and the crust is crispy (finish under the broiler if the custard is not brown enough)
  19. Let it cool off for a few minutes before unmoulding
  20. Optional: dust with cinnamon and icing sugar before serving

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Lovely Maria is always happy to see you!

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