February 22, 2012

Milk Tart?

At long last, a dessert post!  Making a tart has been on my mind lately, and I originally planned on making something with fruit before I came across a recipe for a milk tart whilst flipping through my cookbooks for inspiration.  It's a classic South African dessert, and I thought I'd make something different from my usual fruit tarts.


Unfortunately, it ended rather disastrously from soup to nuts.  I don't think I kneaded the egg into the pastry dough well enough because it was so moist that I wasn't able to roll out the dough.  I ended up mashing the dough into the tart pan and up the sides with my hands, but since I used a smaller pan (9-1/4 inches v. 10-1/2 inches), there wasn't much room for the filling after I blind baked the shell.

And the filling, ah the filling.  Two problems.  One, how on earth do you fold egg whites into a liquid?!  The egg whites either floated to the top or dissolved into the filling, and I didn't want to risk folding them in to the point where they're completely gone.  Two, I could only fit half of the filling into the tart shell.  Even if I had used a bigger pan, I'm rather dubious that all of the filling would've fit inside.

When it was done baking, the filling and the tart shell essentially melded together and formed this gummy, floppy...thing.  The taste wasn't bad, but the texture wasn't great.  At least I got some decent photos out of it.

Here's the recipe if any of you would like to give it a go.  Let me know if you've had any success.  Cheers.

Milk Tart
from Tessa Kiros's falling cloudberries

Tart Shell
7 tablespoons cold butter, cut into cubes
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg, lightly beaten

3 cups milk
5 tablespoons butter
3 eggs, separated
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup cornstarch

1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Tart Shell:
To make tart shell, mash sugar into butter with spoon until softened.  Add flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt, and work dry ingredients in with hands until mixture resembles a coarse meal.  Add egg and gently knead so pastry comes together into a ball of dough.  Flatten slightly and wrap in plastic.  Refrigerate for 1 hour before rolling out.

Preheat oven to 350º F.

Roll out pastry on floured work surface to line a 10-1/2 inch tart pan with sides at least 1-1/4 inches high.  Line with parchment paper and pie weights and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove paper and weights when visible pastry is golden.  Prick base a few times with a fork and bake 10 more minutes to dry out the bottom.

While tart shell is baking, melt the butter in milk in a pan over medium heat.  Whisk egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla, then whisk in cornstarch.  Slowly add hot milk+butter to egg mixture, whisking all the while to avoid cooking the egg yolks.  Let cool.

Meanwhile, whisk egg whites into soft peaks, then fold into rest of filling.  Pour into tart shell, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon, and bake for 30 minutes until filling is set and just a bit wobbly.

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