- For the sweet pastry
- 165g/5¾oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 25g/1oz ground almonds
- 120g/4¼oz chilled unsalted butter, cubed
- 55g/2oz caster sugar
- 1 free-range egg
- For the custard filling
- 700ml/1¼ pint full-fat milk
- 7 free-range egg yolks
- 90g/3¼oz caster sugar
- freshly ground nutmeg
- To make the pastry, stir the flour and ground almonds together in a large bowl, then add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar.
- Break in the egg and work it into the mixture with your fingers, bringing it together to form a soft dough.
- Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and shape it into a ball. Flatten with your fingers to a disc and wrap in cling film. Leave to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
- Roll out the sweet pastry on a lightly floured work surface.
- Using an 11cm/4½in fluted cutter, cut out twelve discs and line the muffin tray moulds with the pastry circle. The pastry should overlap the top of the moulds by a few millimetres, so that you can crimp the edges if you wish.
- For the custard filling, warm the milk in a saucepan, and beat the egg yolks and sugar together in a separate bowl until pale and creamy.
- Pour the milk onto the egg yolk mixture and stir well, creating little bubbles.
- Transfer the custard mixture into a pouring jug with a lip, then fill each of the tart cases.
- Sprinkle a small pinch of ground nutmeg into the middle of each tart.
- Bake the tarts in the oven for about 25 minutes - you may need to turn the temperature down to 180C/350F/Gas 4 for the final 10 minutes. You are looking for a very slight dome on the custard, indicating that it is baked. If the custard domes too much this indicates that you have over-cooked the custard, it will have boiled, and will sink back down leaving a big dip. If this does happen you can help rescue it by removing the tarts from the oven immediately and placing the tin in cold water on a cold surface.
- Cool in the tin for 30 minutes and then carefully remove from the moulds. The base of the tarts should be perfectly baked through, without having over-cooked the custard filling.
Tips/TechniquesEquipment and preparation: You will need a 12-hole muffin tray and a 11cm/4½in fluted cutter.