A dessert with a truly special twist from Nadiya's Fast Flavours.
When my brother tried this he declared, ‘This is my new favourite,’ but let’s just say that changes, often! It’s my version of a custard tart, with a smooth baked centre, but it’s what's underneath and on top that really makes it special. The pastry is made with hazelnuts and salted pretzels that give it a crunchy nuttiness; and once baked the custard is covered with sugar and blow-torched to create a crisp, sugary brûlée topping.
Prep 30 mins plus chilling
Cook 1 hr 15 mins
For the tart shell:
- 50g blanched hazelnuts
- 50g salted pretzels
- 200g plain flour
- 150g unsalted butter, cubed and cold
- 2 tablespoons cold water
For the filling:
- 500ml double cream
- 75g caster sugar, plus an extra 40g for the top
- 9 egg yolks (save some egg white for glazing)
Start by making the pastry for the tart shell. Blitz the nuts and pretzels in a food processor to a fine crumb. Add the flour and quickly whiz to combine. Then add the butter and allow the mixture to clump. Add the water and blitz till the pastry comes together. If it is too dry, add an extra teaspoon of water at a time.
Take the pastry out of the processor, wrap in cling film and leave to chill in the fridge for half an hour.
Have a 25cm fluted loose-bottom tart tin at the ready. Take the pastry out of the fridge and roll it out between sheets of cling film so you can get it as thin as possible and large enough to cover the base and sides of your tin, with some overhang. Lift off the top piece of cling film and use the base cling film to gently flip the pastry on top of the tin. Peel away the cling film and push the pastry into the base and fluted edges of the tin. Trim off all the excess, then poke holes into the base using a fork and pop into the freezer for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C and pop a baking tray onto the middle shelf.
Take the lined tin out of the freezer, add a scrunched-up piece of baking paper into the tart shell and fill with baking beans or dry lentils. Pop onto a hot baking tray and bake for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, take out the tart shell, including the tray, and remove the paper and beans. Return it to the oven to bake for 10 minutes without the paper, then brush it with the leftover egg white and cook for another 2 minutes.
Take the tart shell out and leave on a rack to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 150°C/fan 130°C.
Now on to the filling. Pour the cream into a saucepan and bring just to the boil, then take off the heat. Add the sugar and egg yolks to a medium bowl and whisk well till combined. Gently pour the hot cream into the egg mixture in a steady stream, whisking all the time.
Pour the filling into the baked tart shell through a sieve to catch any eggy lumps that might have formed. This will result in a super-smooth baked custard. Pop any bubbles on the surface using a toothpick.
Pop back into the oven and bake for 35–40 minutes. When you take it out there will be a slight wobble in the centre.
Leave to cool in the tin completely and then refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Once you are ready to serve, sprinkle the remaining sugar evenly across the top, avoiding the pastry edges. Using a blowtorch, heat the sugar till golden all over and leave to set for a few minutes. It is now ready to remove from the tin and slice.
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