Wednesday, September 01, 2004

old fashioned English custard tart, delia smith's

adapted fr delia smith's "how to cook."
this is only faintly sweet and the pastry is light and flaky.
preheat oven to 375F. put a clean baking sheet on upper third rack of oven.

crust: 1 cup all purpose flour, 1/2 tsp. salt, 2 tbsp. Crisco, chilled, 3 tbsps. butter, chilled, 1 tbsp. of water.

whisk flour and salt, cut in butter and shortening, then sprinkle water a little at a time until dough can be formed in a ball. flatten into a thick disk and wrap in plastic, let rest in refrigerator at least 30 minutes.
roll out to diameter of deep pie dish plus 1 1/2 inches more all around. fold gently into a fourth and then drape over rolling pin and line pie dish. press down edges and trim, decoratively, if you like.
wipe with egg wash (beaten egg plus a tiny bit of milk), prick with fork at the bottom, or put a parchment paper round, to fit just the bottom, and pie weights. "blind bake" (i learned this from chef celiak) for 20 minutes until golden brown. remove from oven, gently remove paper and pie weights. leave baking sheet in oven.
reduce oven temperature to 325F.

filling: 2 egg yolks plus 3 eggs, 2 1/2 cups light cream, lightly beaten; 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, freshly grated nutmeg.

gently whisk eggs and sugar. no bubbles! or the egg pie will have swiss-cheese-like-holes. in a small saucepan, heat up cream to a low simmer. pour warm cream slowly in a steady stream to eggs-sugar mixture, whisking slowly. add vanilla extract and nutmeg (optional). put pie dish on top of baking sheet with oven rack half out of the oven, pour in the mixture. bake in 325F oven for about 30-40 minutes or until firmly set, golden brown, and slightly puffed.

(tita delia's original recipes called for 1 1/2 nutmegs, grated to mix into the batter, and 1 tsp. butter to be dotted all over the top before baking...i wanted to duplicate the egg pie my lolo used to buy for lola so i nixed that.)

serve warm or cold.