Rhonda Parkinson's tips for making Egg Custard Tarts
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The Crust:

Use Lard. It's fallen out of favor recently, but lard will produce the kind of lighter, flakier crust you want.

Make sure you have a large enough surface for rolling out the dough. This is a delicate dough that doesn't take kindly to repeated rolling and shaping. If you don't have a large enough cutting board, roll the dough out on a a large piece of parchment or wax paper.

The Filling:

Lightly beat the eggs. Stir the egg lightly with chopsticks or a fork, trying not to produce any air bubbles.

Before preparing the custard, make sure the filling ingredients are at room temperature. This helps prevent the filling from separating. Scalding the milk before adding to the other custard ingredients also helps.

Milk, Cream or ?

Feel free to experiment, depending on how rich you want the custard to be.

One final tip: Yellow food coloring will give the custard that lemony look found in restaurant dishes.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------Egg Custard Tarts: A basic recipe by Rhonda Parkinson,

Makes about 24 tarts

2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup lard
1/3 cup butter
4 tablespoons hot water, or as needed

Custard Filling:
2 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups whole milk
4 ounces sugar (castor or superfine if possible)
yellow food coloring (optional)

Preparations: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and grease
the tart pans.

Cut the lard. Use a sifter to sift the flour into a large bowl. Work the lard and butter into the flour with the tips of your fingers, until the mixture has the appearance of coarse breadcrumbs. Continue kneading, adding the hot water. Roll the dough into a large ball, cover with wax paper and refrigerate while preparing the custard filling.

Lightly beat the eggs, taking care not to produce any air bubbles. Stir in the milk and the sugar. Add the yellow food color if using.

On a large, lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until it is very thin (about 1/8-inch or 3 to 4 mm thick). Cut the dough in half before rolling out if needed. Use a pastry cutter to cut out 18 circles that are 3-inches in diameter. Fit the circles into the tart shells.

Pour the filling into the shells. Bake until the custard is cooked and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean (about 35 minutes). Cool.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------Egg Custard Tarts: this recipe uses custard powder in the filling

Rich short crust pastry
250g cold butter, cubed50g icing sugar1 egg yolk
360g plain flour2 tbsp custard powder
Egg custard filling
310ml hot water230g castor sugar1 tbsp evaporated milk1/4 tsp salt1/4 tsp vanilla essence6 eggs

Combine butter, sugar and egg yolk in a mixing bowl and beat until creamy. Add in sifted flour and custard powder and combine until the dough turns pliable. Set aside for half an hour.

Put dough in between two plastic sheets and roll out to about 3 - 4mm thickness. Use a pastry cutter to cut out rounds from the sheet of pastry to fit aluminium foil tart moulds. Place the pastry rounds in the moulds, pressing down the sides to make them fit evenly. Prick with a fork to ensure that the base remains flat after baking.

For the filling, add sugar to the hot water. Stir well to dissolve the sugar, then add in evaporated milk, salt and essence, and mix.

Break eggs into a bowl and stir lightly with a fork (do not beat until frothy). Pour the cooled sugar and milk mixture into the eggs, then strain the mixture into a measuring jug. Pour egg custard filling into the lined pastry tins and bake in a preheated oven at 180oC for 5 minutes.
Use a piece of foil to cover the shelf above the tarts to prevent the egg tart filling from browning too fast. Continue to bake for 25 - 30 minutes until the custard is set.
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