Blackberry Crumble Custard Tarts

If you have read my previous post you will already know this, but if you have come here from another source then you should know that these tarts were inspired by a fictional King Edward VI from a booked titled Lady Jane: the not entirely true story. If you'd like to know a bit more about the story and my thoughts on the book click on the title above.

This post is to talk about these Blackberry Crumble Custard Tarts...... which were super amazing! In the book the King loves his blackberries especially as pie. The thing is I am not a huge fan of fruit pie because cooked mushy fruit just doesn't appeal to me.

Brainstorming, isn't something you just learn at school, an idea other then pie was fairly simple. It went like this: use fresh blackberries, fresh berries taste great in tarts, tarts are similar to pie, custard goes well in tarts and done.

So, no these aren't exactly blackberry pie, but as the real fictional king loved blackberries in or out of pie I am positive he would have approved of these.

Blackberry Crumble Custard Tarts

Shortcrust Pastry with orange zest

250g plain flour
100g icing sugar
pinch of salt
150g unsalted butter, cold grated or cubed
2 egg yolks
1 egg
zest of 1 orange

Sift the flour and icing sugar together in a large mixing bowl, add the pinch of salt and the cold grated butter. Rub gently between your finger tips until it resembles bread crumbs - try to handle it as little as possible. *I sometimes run my hands under cold water and pat dry before this last step as my hands are generally warm.
Gently whisk the egg yolks and yolk together, make a well in the bread crumbs and add the eggs as well as the orange zest. Using a spatula bring the dough together. It will be a bit crumbly, pour onto a sheet of clingfilm and gently pat down into a square and wrap in the clingfilm. Keep it in the fridge for a minimum of an hour, but is best if kept overnight.

Quick(ish) Custard

30g caster sugar
2 tbsp cornflour
3 egg yolks
260ml double cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Using a glass or metal bowl whisk the sugar, cornflour, and egg yolks until lighter in color and you have incorporated a bit of air into them. Leave aside and heat the cream and vanilla together until it starts to produce little bubbles aka simmering. Gradually pour the now vanilla infused cream over the egg yolk mixture, whisking all the while.
Make a double boiler by placing your heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, stir the custard until thick and creamy. Can take about 7-10 minutes. To test it use a spatula or spoon by dipping it into the custard and when you pull it out it shouldn't drip off the spoon, run your finger through the middle and if the trail your finger makes stays it's done.
Take off the heat and continue whisking for a few minutes before leaving in the fridge to cool for a minimum of 4 hours.

To Assemble: 

225g blackberries
Oat Crumble (optional) recipe found here.
Egg wash: 1 small egg, lightly beaten

Pastry: Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface, to about 3mm or .3cm and cut into rounds to fit your muffin tin make sure to leave a little over the top for shrinkage. Press carefully into the muffin cavities, no need to grease. Place in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
Take them out of the fridge and line with grease proof baking paper and line with baking beads or your choice of weight some people use rice. Blind bake for 10-15 minutes or until it starts to brown. Remove the baking beads and brush a very light layer of the egg wash over each pastry case and bake for an extra 2 minutes or so. Leave to cool completely before adding a blackberry or two depending how big they are to each case. Cover with the custard and oat crumble if using. Enjoy!

I shared these with my work colleagues and they had a deep discussion about how one of them didn't like blackberries, but were loving them with the custard and oat topping. Then I was asked what it was that was giving it that extra something and I said it was probably the orange zest in the pastry. With that revaluation it was readily agreed upon that that was what was giving it that something special. They are funny, I do love working with fellow foodies!

*recipe adapted from Sweet Tooth by Lily Vanilli

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