This has to be the busiest time of the year. In fact, it has been a crazily busy year. But I prefer that way anyway, it keeps me active and no time to get bored. But not just me, I know most of my friends have a very busy year this year, either getting married, making babies, buying houses, or making more babies! No matter how busy I am, I will always take some time out to do things that I love best, and that is baking. I don’t know about you, but I find it therapeutic kneading doll, whisking egg white, rolling pastry, whipping cream, stirring custard or even just sifting flour (I need to get out more). And nothing can be more exciting and rewarding to see the work and sweat went into the oven suddenly turned into something so beautiful and so delicious. I guess that’s the reason why I want to set up the Baking Club monthly challenge and hopefully everyone can share the enjoyment of baking.
For this month baking club challenge, actually I won’t even call it a challenge simply because I just wanted to share with you all, the most wonderful pastry ever created for the human kind! Behold, the Ginger Brulee Tart! Of course not just any ginger brulee tart, but it is the recipe by Bourke Street Bakery. BSB’s fans will tell you that their ginger brulee tart is simply the best and to die for! You can’t go to BSB without getting one, or two.
Despite I modified their recipe a little (their version simply take too long to make…) to shorten the process so we all can eat the tart quicker, this simplified version is pretty darn good too! There are a few pressure points that you need to look out for:
1. For the pastry, make sure do not overwork the dough. Try not to blend too long in the food processor, you should still be able to see flecks of butter in the pastry when form a dough. These little tiny butter specks will give your pastry that short, crumbly texture.
2. When you roll the dough out, you possibly able to only cut enough circles to cover 4-6 tart tins. Don’t worry, gather all the excess off cuts dough together, flatten back into a disc and wrap in cling film, transfer back to fridge and let it set for another 30 minutes, now you will be able to roll it out again and cut couple more circles, until all the dough is used.
3. When making the custard, the BSB’s recipe advised you to stir the custard in a bowl on top of a pot of simmering water (double boiling method), and it takes 1 HOUR to stir! Hence, I shorten the process by putting the custard in the saucepan and keep stirring over medium-low heat, and it will only take about 20-30 minutes. But you do have to be careful and not to cook the egg and curdle. As soon as you scrape the bottom and it gets eggy, quickly remove from the heat and keep stirring and let the temperature drops. Once is cool enough, then replace the pot back on the heat and continue stirring until is ready.
4. When the custard is ready, you can quickly soak the saucepan in a bowl of cold water, so the temperature drops quickly and stop the cooking process. If not, just transfer the custard into a clean bowl and let it cools down completely.
5. The custard should be quite thick, and it will set in the fridge and becomes thicker. If is too runny still, you can always put it back on saucepan and cook again until thicken. It is totally up to you what consistency of the custard you prefer.
Ginger Brulee Tart
(Recipe adapted from Bourke Street Bakery cookbook)
Sweet crust pastry
125 g (4 oz) chilled unsalted butter, cut into cubes
30 g (1 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
200 g (7 oz/11/3 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting
pinch of salt
4 tablespoons chilled water
Ginger brûlée filling
400ml pouring cream
5cm piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cardamon pod, bruised
1 cinnamon stick
5 egg yolks
50 caster sugar, plus extra for burning
a handful of pistachio, toasted and chopped
1. To make the tart cases, put all the sweet crust pastry ingredients, except the water, into a food processor and pulse until it resembles breadcrumbs. Then add the water in a steady stream, and keep pulsing until it comes together and forms coarse clumps. Place the clumps on a floured surface and gently gather them to form a dough. Flatten the dough into a disc about 2 cm (3/4 inch) thick, then wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
2. Remove the pastry from the refrigerator. Lightly dust the pastry, work surface and rolling pin with flour, then roll out the pastry to a 3 mm (1/8 inch) thickness. Using an 11 cm (41/4 inch) round pastry cutter, cut out 8 rounds from the pastry.
3. Line the individual tart tins with the pastry; use a ball of excess dough to gently push the pastry into the corners of the tins. Try not to stretch the pastry too much or it will shrink when baking. Once all the tart tins are lined with pastry, place them on a baking tray and transfer to the freezer to chill for 20 minutes, so the pastry holds its shape when baking.
4. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6). Prick tart shells on the base with a fork, line the tart shells with baking paper, then fill with baking weights or grain or rice, transfer to the oven and blind bake the tart cases for 20–25 minutes, or until they are golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and let them cool a little before removing the blind baking materials and the tins.
5. To make the custard, put the cream into a saucepan over high heat and add the ginger, cardamom and cinnamon stick. As soon as it boils, remove from the heat, pour into a large bowl and cover with cling film. Let the flavour infuse for at least 4 hours, ideally overnight.
6. Place egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and whisk to combine or until the sugar has dissolved. Reheat the infused cream in a saucepan over medium-high heat, remove from heat once it starts simmering. Pour a little bit of the warmed cream through a fine sieve into the egg mixture, quickly give the mixture a whisk so the egg doesn’t curdle. Then gently pour a little bit more of the cream and whisk it in, repeat until all the cream and egg mixture are well combined. Discard solids in the sieve.
7. Pour mixture back into the saucepan over low-medium heat, keep stirring with a wooden spatula until the custard thickens. Control the heat and make sure the custard doesn’t curdle, remove the saucepan from heat if is too hot, give it a stir to cool down then put it back on the heat. It will take around 20-30minutes, so please be patient and keep stirring. Dab the back of the wooden spoon on the custard, then draw a line using a finger, if custard doesn’t flow and cover the line, then it is thick enough and is ready. Remove from heat, set side to cool down completely.
8. Place the tart cases on a tray, and spoon the custard into each case until it is filled to the brim. Use a palette knife to spread and level the custard. Place the tarts in fridge to set until ready to serve.
9. Before serving, sprinkle about 1 tablespoon caster sugar over the top of each tart and burn with a blowtorch to caramelise the top. Sprinkle a few pistachios on top.