Perfect Christmas recipe: Spiced Custard Christmas Tart from Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
This year’s Christmas recipe is the brainchild of Ashley Palmer-Watts of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. The Spiced Custard Christmas Tart is seasoned with flavours of mincemeat and a generous splash of brandy, making for a light and delicious alternative to the Christmas pudding. Pair it with a Semillon sweet wine such as a Sauternes for a complete festive experience.
We carefully went through each step with Daniel Svensson, group head pastry chef at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal.
Spiced Custard Christmas Tart
Prep and cooking time: Three hours
155g unsalted butter, soft
25g golden caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
What you need to do:
1. Place the soft butter into a bowl with the sugar, and gently work together. Add the egg and lightly work to a smooth paste.
2. Add the flour and mix it with the paste, being careful not to overwork the dough.
3. Place the paste on to clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for at least an hour.
4. Roll the pastry between two sheets of clingfilm to a thickness of 2mm. It should be 38cm in size: 10cm wider than the tart case. Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4.
5. Peel off the clingfilm, roll the pastry around a rolling pin, lift it over a 28cm tart case and unroll it so the edges hang over the sides. Press the pastry gently to fit the tin leaving the edges overhanging, trim of the excess dough with a sharp knife and prick with a fork and place in the fridge to rest for 30 min.
6. Take a sheet of parchment larger than the tart tin, scrunch it up and lay over the pastry (this will make it easier to fit into the edges of the tart).
7. Place baking beans on top filling all the way up, place some weights, like an oven-safe frying pan or heavy lids as this dough has a tendency to want to shrink. Place in a preheated oven at 170C, bake for 35 min. Gently lift some of the parchment to see if the pastry has gone matte – if still shiny tart place back in the oven for another 5-10 min.
8. Remove the parchment, weights and beans and return the tart to the oven for 10 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
600g whipping cream
250g egg yolk (approx 12/13 yolks)
100g golden caster sugar
What you need to do:
1. Place egg yolks, sugar, whipping cream and the brandy into a bowl and place over a pan of simmering water and stir gently with a spatula.
2. Stirring continuously to avoid the custard setting, when the custard reaches 63°C, remove the bowl from the pan and pass the custard through a fine-meshed sieve into a jug.
3. Using a spoon remove any bubbles from the surface and discard.
4. Place mincemeat in a food processor and blitz to a fine paste, spread an even layer the mincemeat in the bottom of the pre-baked tart case.
5. Place the tart onto the tray in a preheated oven at 120°C.
6. Gently pour the warm custard into the tart shell, the trick is to get as much as possible in there without pouring over the edge.
7. Carefully push into the oven and bake for 25 minutes, check the tart by gently wobbling the tray. When the custard is just set with a slight wobble, remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool.
8. To serve, remove the tart from the metal tart case.
9. Slice using a sharp knife, evenly sprinkle a thin layer of golden caster sugar over the top and caramelise the sugar with a blowtorch.
10. To finish grate a little nutmeg over the caramelised surface and serve.
11. For a complete festive experience, chef Palmer-Watts recommends to grab a glass of Sauternes and listen to Rag’n’Bone Man’s It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas from BBC Radio1’s Live Lounge. Merry Christmas!
The two-michelin-starred restaurant has now added this wonderfully creamy Christmas treat to their festive set lunch menu, so you can always go there to compare your work to that of the celebrated chef.
The editorial unit
Photos: Matthew Pull