You have probably seen the famous Portuguese custard tarts in stores. They are simply delicious. They are made of a creamy vanilla custard baked into a flaky shell. They are just as charming as cupcakes but without the fuss and the mess! In fact, apart from the pastry, they can be prepared in 10-15 minutes. So when I need a quick dessert, I bake them in ready frozen sweetened tart shells. You could also use frozen puff pastry cut to size and fitted into muffin tins, but honestly, who needs more work? When eaten on the same day, the puff pastry would be more delicious, but it doesn’t keep well for the next day. When prepared in the frozen tart shells on the other hand, they keep beautifully for days and even freeze well.
Real Portuguese custard tarts are baked in a shell that is a cross between puff pastry and flaky crust, so this is a simplified version. They are flavoured with vanilla and just a hint of lemon. I add some strips of lemon peel during cooking, which gives it a subtle flavour.
12 frozen uncooked sweetened tart shells
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp vanilla sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 strips of lemon peel
3/4 cup cream
1/2 cup water
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Whisk the yolks in a saucepan. Add the sugars and whisk until well mixed. Add the cornstarch and whisk again. Add the cream in 3 steps, whisking well after each addition. Add the water and whisk.
Add the strips of lemon peel (I used a vegetable peeler to get some strips) and heat the custard over medium heat while whisking constantly until it thickens.
Remove the strips of lemon and fill the custard into the 12 tart shells and bake for about 15 minutes. Let cool completely.