A Tart for a Queen

posted in: Cooking | 5

Ever since I saw Marcus Wareing’s custard tart on the UKTV Food rerun of the first Great British Menu, I wanted to make it. If it was good enough for the Queen it was good enough for me! At the time, I didn’t realize that the Great British Menu cookbook I had wasn’t the correct one, it was the one for the second season. I was gutted because I thought the recipe just wasn’t included, which struck me as very odd. Then I realized that the recipes just didn’t match the shows and the light went on in my head. I eventually found the right book.

I decided to finally give it a go today but I had no idea what I was in for. It’s not difficult, it’s just time consuming. They always make it seem like a piece of cake on TV! First of all, there is a bug in the recipe. I don’t know if it was a printing error or what but there was absolutely no way the mixture for the Garibaldi biscuits was going to become a dough with the amount of flour the recipe asked for. Maybe it was that it called for too much egg white, who knows. That was an easy fix though, I just added more flour.

The bad thing about this recipe is the sheer amount of time involved in making it. It’s mostly inactive time but expect it to take nearly all day, or at the very least, the better part of the day. Time aside, I found the pastry for the tart itself very difficult to work with. It went very soft very quickly, unlike most pastry dough I have worked with. It seemed that just rolling it made it melt. I thought about adding more flour but in the end, I decided not to. The end result was just fine, just a pain in the butt to get it there.

So, without further ado, the adapted (and corrected) recipe:

Custard Tart with Garibaldi Biscuits

for the biscuits:
100g (3.5 oz) butter, melted
100g (3.5 oz) icing (confectioner’s) sugar
250g (9 oz) plain (all purpose) flour
100g (3.5 oz) egg whites
200g (7 oz) seedless raisins

for the pastry:
225g (8oz) plain (all purpose) flour
pinch of salt
grated zest of 1 lemon (unwaxed)
150g (50z) unsalted butter
75g (2.5 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
1 egg yolk and 1 whole egg, beaten together

for the custard filling:
9 free range egg yolks
75g (2.5 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
500ml (17 fl oz) whipping cream
ground cinnamon

1. First, make the Garibaldi biscuits. Mix together the butter, icing sugar, and flour until smooth. Slowly add the egg whites, stirring until they are completely incorporated, then fold in the raisins. Lightly knead into a ball, wrap in cling film (plastic wrap) and chill for at least 1 hour.

2. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to 5mm thick. Cut into 3 x 7cm rectangles with a small sharp knife. Place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof (waxed) paper, ensuring the biscuits are not touching each other. Put the tray in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas 4. Bake the biscuits for 8 to 10 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Keep in an airtight container.

4. To make the pastry, rub together the flour, salt, lemon zest and butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar, then slowly add the eggs, mixing until the pastry forms a ball. Wrap tightly in cling film (plastic wrap) and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

5. Preheat the oven to 170°C / 340°F / Gas 3.

6. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to 2mm thick. Use to line an 18cm (7 inch) tart pan with a loose bottom and place on a baking sheet. Line with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans (or dried beans), then blind bake for about 10 minutes or until starting to turn golden brown. Remove the paper and beans and cool. Turn the oven down to 130°C / 265°F / Gas 1/2.

7. For the filling, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. Add the cream and mix well. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve (strainer) into a saucepan and warm to tepid.

8. Fill the pastry case with the custard, to within 5mm from the top. Carefully place in the middle of the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the custard appears set but not too firm. Remove from the oven and cover the surface liberally with the ground cinnamon. Allow to cool at room temperature.

9. Serve with the biscuits

It was good and very smooth, however, with the amount of work involved (and the fact that it was made for the Queen!) you’d expect it to knock your socks off. Sadly, it didn’t. However, If I had not had to make it myself, it would have been delicious! I guess the amount of work is not equally proportional to the taste. I’d make it again but I’d give it some sort of twist to spice it up a bit.

I had leftover custard so I baked it in small ramekins.

That took me most of the day but dinner itself was a breeze. The squash is very easy to make. Simply take two small acorn squashes and poke a few holes in them with a small knife. Bake in a 190°C / 375° oven for about one hour or until they feel soft when poked with a small, sharp knife. Cut in half and discard the seeds. Dot generously with butter. Done.

Spicy Honey-Kissed Chicken

1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp rubbed or crumbled sage
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp salt

1 pound (about 2 large) chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp light soy sauce

In a small dish, combine the rub ingredients. Rub the mixture all over the chicken. Cut into strips about 1/2 inch wide.

Heat a large non stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the skillet. Cook the chicken until nearly cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes, stirring often.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Stir into the chicken, increase the heat to high, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the chicken has just cooked through.

Serves 2

The chicken was very tasty and quite honestly, very easy and quick. As if that wasn’t enough, it was also healthy! The recipe came from a book called Meals in Minutes by the American Heart Association.

5 Responses

  1. Deborah

    These all look amazing. Too bad the tart didn’t blow your socks off!! I really want to try that chicken – it sounds so simple and healthy!

  2. Meeta

    June, the tart looks wonderful – shame that it did not make that much of an impact. However that chicken looks and sounds simply delicious!

  3. Joe

    The version on the BBC website uses nutmeg instead of cinnamon. That is the bit that blew my socks off.

    I found myself without a scale so I now know (having gone out and bought one halfway through) that 100 grams of egg white equals about 2 jumbo egg whites.

Leave a Reply