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Portuguese Egg Custard Tarts

  • 300 g All-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 155 ml Cold water
  • 200 g Butter, unsalted
  • 4 Egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 120 ml Milk, warm
  • 50 g Castor sugar
  • 1 tbsp Sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • Coconut flakes or sesame seeds
  1. Sieve the flour and salt. Rub in butter and make a well in the center. Fill in water and lemon juice, and mix well into a smooth dough ball. Wrap tightly and relax the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes. Cut a cross on the top of the dough and pull out four corners to form a star shape.
  2. Roll out the points of the star into flaps, keeping the center thicker. The total thickness of four points is about the thickness of the center dough. Knead the butter between two baking paper to the same texture as the dough. This is extremely important. As the fat will melt and then ooze out if too soft, if too hard it will break through when rolling. Place the butter on the center and fold to seal in butter and press out any air. Make sure no butter is exposed.
  3. On a lightly floured work surface, flatten the dough with a rolling pin, and then roll out to a 7x21-inch rectangle. Fold the bottom third of the rectangle up toward the centre, and brush off any extra flour. Fold the top third down to make a neat square and brush off any flour. This is a single fold. This folding method is similar to folding a letter into thirds to fit into an envelope. Give the dough a 90 degree turn to the left and again roll it out to a 7x21-inch rectangle. Fold in both the edges so that they meet in the center. This is called a double or book fold. Wrap and chill the dough overnight or at least 45 minutes. To get the maximum rising, turn the dough in the same direction so the the seam is always at the same side.
  4. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Repeat both the single and double folds. Although the dough at this point is ready for use, allow to rest for two hours after the final turn before using in recipes. Alternatively freeze it for up to two months. If a recipe calls for a lighter pastry, then repeat the single and double folds again. In this case, relax the dough just for one hour.
  5. Beat all the ingredients for the filling until well-blended. Strain the filling through a strainer. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Roll out the pastry dough into 3mm thickness and cut out 18 circles with a round cookie cutter and press into tart pans. Spoon the mixture evenly into the pastry cases, leaving about 1 cm below the rim of the pastry, and if desired sprinkle the top with coconut flakes or sesame seeds. Bake for about 20 minutes until golden.


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