Monday, 11 April 2011

And so I made my first milk tart...

~ by Kerry

What do you do when you have 4 litres of milk in your fridge, all expiring within a couple of days? My first thought (as it generally is) turns to baking, and what better way to use up some milk than in a traditional milk tart! So I dug into my collection of Avocado magazines (you won't believe how many times I cook out of Avocado!) and found a recipe for melktert in our May/June 2010 issue.

Being the first time I've ever made milk tart, I didn't expect miracles (every first recipe is allowed some teething problems), but by jove, it came out quite nicely. Except for...the puff pastry base. I'm not the greatest fan of puff pastry at the best of times, and for me, it doesn't work with my milk tart.
So off I tootled to get some council from Sasha, and she suggested a nice shortcrust pastry instead.

Here's a great recipe from Jamie Oliver, that Sasha has given 100% thumbs-up to:

Old-fashioned sweet shortcrust pastry

500g organic plain flour, plus extra for dusting
100g icing sugar, sifted
250g good-quality cold butter, cut into small cubes
zest of 1 lemon
2 large free-range or organic eggs, beaten
a splash of milk/iced water

1. Sieve the flour from a height onto a clean work surface and sieve the icing sugar over the top.
2. Using your hands, work the cubes of butter into the flour and sugar by rubbing your thumbs against your fingers until you end up with a fine, crumbly mixture. This is the point where you can spike the mixture with interesting flavours, so mix in your lemon zest.
3. Add the eggs and milk/iced water to the mixture and gently work it together till you have a ball of dough. Flour it lightly. Don’t work the pastry too much at this stage or it will become elastic and chewy, not crumbly and short.

4. Flour your work surface and place the dough on top. Pat it into a flat round, flour it lightly, wrap it in clingfilm and put it into the fridge to rest for at least half an hour.

Tip: Jamie says you can use a pinch of cinnamon instead of the lemon zest - I think this will work wonders with a milk tart!

Tip: The more protein-based ingredients you use, the more crumbly it becomes, so using iced water instead of the splash of milk makes it easier to work with.

And this is how you get rid of the natty edges...

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