Fruit Custard Tart

There is one simple rule my mom and I have for the Home Baking Project: Do not deviate from the original recipe, even if you think you can improve upon it. The only exceptions are 1) if there are ingredients or equipment you simply can not obtain within reasonable cost, or 2) if the baking time needs adjusting. No point in having an underdone or overdone just for the sake of following the recipe to the letter.

We did have a second rule, and that was to bake everything in the book in order. However, the first chapter is devoted entirely to rich, sweet pastries, and we didn't want to make ourselves sick or gain 30 pounds in a month, so that rule got modified right away. We'll be alternating desserts and breads for a while.

I promised I would begin with the Treacle Tart. I lied. The reason is simple: it calls for Lyle's Golden Syrup, a British product that is, as it turns out, impossible to find in Madison. Lyle's Golden Syrup is something like corn syrup, something like maple syrup, but not enough like those things to use either one as a reasonable substitute. Plus, we have only one rule, and I didn't want to break it with the first recipe. I called several grocery stores in Madison, and I even tried Williams-Sonoma, but to no avail. No one had ever heard of the stuff. Finally, I followed the advice "JFGI" (just fucking google it) and found the Lyle's Golden Syrup homepage (linked above) and a link to Amazon. Dude, if you can't find it on Amazon, it probably doesn't exist. I ordered a six-pack; that's a total of 66 oz, and it will probably set me up for life.

(I also found a whole website devoted to fictional little creatures called Treacle People. They even have their own DVD. The Brits love their Treacle, apparently.)

So while I'm waiting for my lifetime supply of Lyle's Golden Syrup to arrive, I made a Fruit Custard Tart. The recipe wasn't especially complicated. First, I had to make a sweet pastry crust, which has plenty of butter and egg yolks. It had to be baked before the filling was added (hence the pile of pinto beans on the parchment paper; they keep the crust from puffing up):

And then I mixed up the filling, which has yet more eggs, plus sugar, heavy cream, ground almonds, and assorted fruit. I used blueberries and raspberries (which came from God-knows-where since you can't get anything locally this time of year that isn't a root vegetable or a storage apple).

You can see how brown the edge of the crust is. That's because I don't have a tart pan and used a pie pan instead, so the crust on the edge there got overdone. If I had thought of this, I would have put aluminum foil over the edge until the last few minutes of baking. In any case, the final result was tasty, but quite rich. Too rich, actually. All those eggs and butter and cream all in one recipe makes for a very dense, very rich dessert that will fill you up in about 3 bites. If I were to make this again, I think I would make a regular pie crust (no egg yolks) and make the custard filling with part milk instead of all that cream.


Animal said…
If that there tasty-lookin' dessert is too rich for y'all, you can box some of it up and ship it here to Michigan. I'm sure it'll stay fresh in all this FREAKIN' COLD!!
Pamela said…
There's a little store in Harvard Square I like to refer to as the "fancy chocolate shop" because it carries lots of delicious varieties of chocolate from around the world among its wide selection of imported foods. One day while I was still living in Cambridge and working for the private school near Walden Pond, my boss instructed me to go to this store and buy all of the Lyle's syrup they had (which, I think, was 6 or 7 bottles) so she could send it to one of her favorite students who wanted to make Treacle Tart. I regret that I never got to try it.
(Your pictures look delicious. I'm hungry...)

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