Thursday, 23 May 2013

A right tart

Flexing my culinary muscles I've extended bread making to pastry and scones. Using this recipe from Be Kitchen Happy I was inspired by her Custard Tart Quest. The reason being that this is Mr Doris' favourite treat and whenever I am near certain supermarkets I know I must  pop in and get some. I'm not really a fan and don't bother eating any. However, for my long suffering partner I felt he needed a little treat as if (mainly) delicious fresh home made breads were not enough.

This was pretty amazing and he and I managed to eat two slices each when it was semi-warm - as shown in the picture. The pastry was superb though I wasn't so thrilled with the grated butter leaving what wastage it did on the grater. A tip I picked up from talking to someone who recently made scones was to chill the flour and this I did as well as trying out the grated butter idea. Next time I'll just chill the flour and use room temperature butter (ie soft!). The other thing I modified was to also chill the pastry flan for ten minutes after I had lined the flan dish. As I didn't have a flan tin with removable base I just lightly sprinkled some flour into the bottom of the buttered dish. Amazingly, after it had cooked and cooled a bit I was able to gently wiggle and then tip the custard tart out and then back upright onto a plate. The custard moved a bit in its pastry nest and then I just wiggled it back to the edges. 

The pastry crust was unbelievable delicious. Vaguely sweet with a flaky crackly crispness. I want to make something savoury with pastry now.

Before I bravely tackled the "Custard" as a custard tart seems to be known round these parts, I made scones the day before. One would have thought I'd be piling on the pounds but it is the opposite! I'm mainly keeping keeping to eating during the five hour (Warrior diet) window which is not too difficult. I'm generally avoiding dairy to clear my sinuses which are barely an issue these days and lapse with treats like this or cream with scones. I have recently discovered using solid coconut oil as a non-dairy and highly nutritious and good for you spread on bread. Oh my goodness it is heaven on a slice. It does change the flavour of the bread somewhat so I need to taste my home baked breads without it first.

I used to make scones as a kid and very rarely tried them again over the years. They tasted good (apart from the occasional splodge of baking sometimes) but never rose to anything of significance. And then in my readings recently read that scones were simply a sweet soda bread. Having not made soda bread but any number of other breads (I have two loaves of spelt currently cooling on the counter) I approached my scone making with a renewed vigour. If anything I was more vigorous with mixing and kneading but in a gentle way if that makes sense. I always knew to handle the dough gently but then I did it too gently. Big things were to chill the flour and also the mixed eggs and milk mixture. I used Mary Berry's  Devonshire scones recipe  and for once in my life weighed the chilled flour into the bowl and then stirred the baking powder in well before crumbing in the butter.

It is true that where the egg and milk glaze drips down the sides of the scones is where they tilt. Next time I might just try a little of the egg only as a glaze and then make extra sure it does not drip down.

I made these scones to take a few to a girlfriend along with a freshly made loaf of bread in my little red riding hood basket along with cream, jam, butter, ham and fresh cherry tomatoes. With her lovely home and china we had ourselves a gorgeous afternoon tea.


Anji Knutsen said...

(egg)Custard tart is something that I missed when I first came to France, though you can get tart made with custard which is lovely, but not the same. The scones look wonderful. I'm pleased to read that you're managing not to put on weight...

Doris said...

It is so funny because I think the Custard tart is such a cold flabby thing compared compared to the delicacy of the French tart, and yet it is loved and appreciated. Now if we Brits had easy access to the French version whether ours would survive.