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Sweet treats: Bring the summer sun with Anna Hingham’s custard and tayberry tart

tayberry tart
Anna Higham's hay custard and tayberry tart.

With the summer finally arriving and berry season upon us, why not try this light and fruity hay custard and tayberry tart.

Although hay might not be your first choice of ingredient, let me assure you the recipe below by Anna Hingham will change your mind.

In this version, the custard is infused with toasted hay – pet shops are a great place to get hold of some.

“Supremely elegant, custard tarts are the perfect interplay between crisp pastry and just-set silken custard,” says Anna Higham.

Her recipe is inspired by Marcus Wareing’s, which she says “pretty much every London chef uses”.

For a tried and tested method to making the perfect tart, please see the recipe below.


Hay custard and tayberry tart

Makes 6 individual tarts

 tayberry tart
Anna Higham’s hay custard and tayberry tart.

Ingredients

For the sweet pastry:

  • 350g plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 225g cold unsalted butter, diced
  • Pinch of salt
  • eggs: 3 yolks, 1 white

For the hay-infused cream:

  • 30g hay
  • 600ml double cream

For the custard:

  • 140g egg yolks, from about 7 eggs
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 450g hay-infused cream

To serve:

  • 200g tayberries, plus 100g per tart
  • 100g icing sugar

Method

  1. For the pastry, combine the flour, icing sugar, butter and salt in a food processor and blitz to fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolks and mix until the dough starts to come together. Turn out on to a work surface and knead firmly. Wrap in cling film and chill until firm.
  2. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to a thickness of 2-3mm then cut out 15cm circles. Press into six 10cm tart cases. Chill the cases for 30 minutes in the fridge or freezer.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4. Trim the excess pastry.
  4. Line each tart with scrunched-up baking parchment, fill with baking beans and bake for 12-15 minutes until the top edge is starting to colour. Remove the baking beans and return the tarts to the oven for a further five minutes. Brush the insides with beaten egg white and leave to cool, still in their cases.
  5. To make the cream: Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4.
  6. Place the hay on a baking tray and top with a cooling rack to weigh it down.
  7. Toast in the oven for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the cream in a saucepan over a low heat until it is starting to steam. Add the toasted hay and cover. Leave to infuse in the fridge for three to four hours. Warm the cream gently then strain, making sure to squeeze out the hay.
  8. Preheat the oven to 115C/95C Fan/ 239F/Gas Mark 1/4 with as low a fan as possible. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar. Slowly whisk in the warm hay-infused cream. Pass through a fine sieve. Pour into a saucepan and heat gently until it reaches 40C.
  9. Place the tart cases on a baking tray and pour in the warmed custard. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the tarts have that gentle wobble. Leave to cool.
  10. Blend 200g of tayberries with the icing sugar and pass through a fine sieve. Use this to dress the remaining tayberries and cover the surface of the tarts.

The Last Bite: A Whole New Approach To Making Desserts Through The Year by Anna Higham, photography by Kim Lightbody, is published by DK, priced £22.


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