I have come to believe that pie making is not as daunting as it is sometimes made out to be. As far as you follow a few simple rules of pastry making basics, you are good to go! The most important being weighing the ingredients right, keeping the ingredients cool, using a cold surface for rolling the dough and handling the dough as little as possible.
If you follow these simple rules, you are most likely to get a tender and flaky, buttery crust that will stand you in good stead. And once you have that crust to die for, you could do so many things by letting your imagination and creativity free. Fill it with a savoury or sweet filling and sprinkle it with nuts, fresh fruits or dry fruits.
Making a tart or a pie and seeing the raw ingredients transformed into an edible and good looking entity puts me in a happy state of mind and gives me a deep sense of contentment. The atmosphere at home also takes on a cheery note with me in this frame of mind and there is happiness and laughter all around, all thanks to the baking.
This year is no different from others when a post with mangoes in it makes an appearance at the end of the mango season instead of the beginning! As usual, I have to unabashedly admit that I was too busy relishing this divine fruit and did not bother to cook with them.
Obviously, I couldnt let an entire season pass without a post on mangoes, so here they are in all their glory adorning the tops of my delicious custard tarts, taking them up a notch with their ambrosial qualities.
If you love custard like me and also love a good flaky and buttery crust, then this is a match made in heaven! These beautiful tarts have a tender crust and the custard which is creamy and smooth, perfectly complements it. And what more should I say about the mangoes as the topping or the crown of this dessert? It’s best that you make it and experience the goodness yourself.
As the mango season comes to an end, I’m filled with gratitude for having been able to enjoy the seasons best mangoes and eating them to the core every day! And also for the ability of having made these tarts and sharing them with family and friends and with all of you in this space.
Eggless Custard Tarts With Mangoes Or Other Fruits
I have topped these tarts with mangoes, but you could use any other favourite seasonal fruits like berries, kiwi or pomegranate.
For the Tart
140 gm (1 cup) plain flour*
70 gm (1/2 cup) whole wheat flour*
100 gm (1/2 cup) cold butter, cut into pieces
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp lime juice
5 to 6 tbsp icy cold water
In a bowl, mix in both the flours and the sugar. Put in the cold butter and using a pastry blender or with your hands rub the butter into the flour until there are no lumps and the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. (Alternatively, process the flour with the butter in a food processor until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.)
Sprinkle the lime juice and the water and mix quickly until it forms a ball. (If using a food processor, add the water and process for a few seconds until the mixtures comes together and forms a mass.) If the mixture is a little dry, you can use a few drops of cold water. Gently knead the dough for about 10 to 15 seconds, cover and place in the refrigerator to chill for about 30 minutes. (If using a food processor turn the mixture onto a cool surface and proceed as given above.)
Roll out the dough to about 3 mm (1/8”) thickness and using a round cookie cutter which is a little bigger than your tart mold, cut out rounds and line the tins or molds. (If you don’t have a tart mold, don’t fret…simply cut rounds and lightly press them into muffin or cup cake tins.) Do not over stretch the dough and turning it over and over again while rolling. Prick with a fork all over and bake in a pre heated oven at about 180 C/350 F for about 25 minutes*.
Allow to cool completely before removing the tarts from their tins.
*You can use 100% plain flour for a very tender and flaky crust or 50% plain flour and 50% whole wheat flour for a grainer and healthier version.
*The baking time can be 5 minutes more or less depending on your oven.
For the Custard
300 ml (1 cup and scant 1/4 cup) milk
200 ml (3/4 cup) cream (I used 25%)*
3 tbsp vanilla custard powder
3 tbsp sugar (use 3 tbsp for just about sweet and 4 tbsp for moderately sweet)
In a saucepan, mix in the milk and the cream. In a small bowl, put in the custard powder. Take about 1/4 cup milk from the saucepan and mix it with the custard powder to make a smooth paste.
Mix in the sugar with the milk in the saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Lower the heat and put in the custard paste, stirring all the while and bring to a boil. This will take less than a minute. Turn off the heat and allow to cool.
Assemble the Tarts:
Spoon a little cooled custard over a completely cooled tart. Garnish with a few pieces of finely chopped mangoes.
Makes 12 small tarts or tartlets and one 9” pie.
Make ahead: You can freeze the dough for upto a month. Bring it down to the refrigerator and leave overnight or for half an hour or more on the counter before you roll the dough. You can also freeze the fully baked tarts in an air tight container for a month. For a fresher version, you can also roll out the dough and press into tart forms and freeze them. Bring them out and thaw for 15 to 20 minutes and then bake. Freezing the dough and then baking the tarts gives fresher tarts than freezing the baked tarts in an air tight container.