Sunday, 10 April 2011

Orange and caramel custard pie


The sunny weather has continued all weekend here in London-town.

(I promise this blog isn't really about the weather, even though, on the last count, my notes on the day's weather have featured in no less than one in four of my posts. Its being British you see. We're obsessed with the seasons).

I wanted pudding tonight to reflect the hot, sunny temperatures (there I go again) and our local Italian deli was advertising a fresh delivery of Sicilian oranges.

I remembered back to a recipe in an old edition of Good Food magazine and following much digging and much muttering 'it must be here somewhere' I finally found it: orange and caramel custard pie.

Ingredients

3 egg yolks
85g caster sugar
1 tbsp plain flour
1 heaped tbsp cornflour
250ml skimmed milk
zest 1 orange

For the topping and base:
1 egg white
3 large sheets filo pastry, halved
3 oranges, skin and pith removed, sliced into rounds
50g caster sugar

For the custard:
1. Beat the egg yolks and sugar for a few minutes until pale and slightly thickened, then whisk in the flours
2. Heat the milk and orange zest in a saucepan
3. Once it's starting to boil around the edges, whisk into the egg mix
4. Put the whole lot back into the pan, stirring all the time until thick and boiling
5. Leave to cool completely. This lovely custard can be made up to 2 days in advance and refridgerated

For the pastry base:
1. Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6
2. Brush the filo sheets one by one with egg white and use to line a 23cm loose-bottom flan tin, overlapping the pieces as you go. Resist letting the pastry overhang as you'll never get it out of the tin; instead, fold the pastry over itself at the edges
3. Bake blind for 10 minutes, then give it another 5 minutes until dark golden and crisp
4. Leave to cool. This stage can be made up to 1 day ahead

To assemble:
1. The cream filling will be set by now, so beat again with electric beaters until smooth
2. Spoon into the case, then chill for at least 30 minutes
3. To serve, put the sugar into a non-stick frying pan and leave over a gentle heat to melt and then caramelise, swirling the pan only a few times
4. Spread the sliced oranges over the custard
5. When the caramel is dark golden, drizzle it over the oranges, let it set for a few minutes, then serve immediately

My only tiny criticism of the recipe was that the pastry was only ok. I might make it with shortcrust pastry next time. However, the zesty, creamy custard and fresh orange slices were deee-lish, and to be honest, popped into a little ramekin, with a sprig of mint on top, would make a mighty fine dessert in their own right.

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