Portuguese Custard Tart

I am not a great lover of pastry – pies and tarts – but I do like Portuguese Custard Tarts. I have enjoyed many when abroad, as well as from London’s Brixton and Borough Markets where they do taste authentic, unlike others I have purchased from local supermarkets, (although not yet in Portugal, still a country I have to visit).

Anyway, thought I would ‘give it a go’ and try making my own. A mixture of success and error, mostly errors, and as the saying goes ‘you  should learn from the mistakes of others as you will not live long enough to make them all yourself’ I thought I would share my experience.

I used a recipe from Pinterest – just Google ‘Portuguese Custard Tarts’ and read through the hundreds of options then pick one that appeals to you. The one I choose was written very simply in a ‘Steps’ format (appealed to the Simpleton in me)

Gather together the ingredients – I used half the recipe as I did not want, or need, 24 tarts. Rolled out the pastry to half the suggested length but the same width – am guessing the idea is to have many flaky layers so the more turns you have the better

I would suggest making the syrup first, although it was Step 5 in my instructions, as it needs to cool. 1st error – so I had to wait an hour before proceeding.

Having rolled out the pastry to a rectangle, then rolled it into the required sausage shape I cut this into 12 pieces and followed the instructions to slightly flatten out each circle. As instructed, I used a 12-hole fairy cake tin – 2nd error – this turned out to be too shallow and as a consequence my tarts could not hold the expected amount of the custard (it was not wasted as I cooked the remaining custard separately and ate it)

Don’t skip chilling the pastry cases once in the tin – pastry chefs are correct when they say this assists the cooking process and helps prevent shrinkage. A good pastry chef always sieves a sauce so don’t skip this step either.

This is a tart that needs time and attention so not one to do in a last-minute hurry, that said making them correctly is worth the effort. Not sure that they freeze so best eaten on the day.




Harrogate Flower Show April 2019

The first (and only) time I had previously been to a Flower Show in Harrogate it was held in the Valley Gardens and the sun shone all day, so I was looking forward to going again even though it is decades later.

Now the Flower Show is held at the Great Yorkshire Showground and it is massive! Fortunately we had purchased the tickets in advance as the queue to buy the tickets at the entrance looked a mile long. We were there on the Friday, which we had thought would be the quieter of the days. The weekend weather report was not good – so I am guessing that those who could do so were also visiting on Friday to avoid the approaching Storm Hannah (I do agree that since we started naming storms there appears to be an increasing number – as if the naming is an invite!).

The morning weather was to be the best of the day, so we walked around the outside exhibits then moved inside once the wind and rain arrived. Although, we kept thinking of exhibits we had missed so still ended up wet and windblown.

Plenty of opportunities to purchase seeds, plants and equipment – the small hot tub may not fit in everyone’s boot. I know two people in Edinburgh who may try to fit it into their apartment!


Also, there are frequent specific talks given by experts (which provided a chance to sit and rest your legs).

Another source of advice and information was, of course, the many exhibitors who were very generous in their time sharing their expertise, hints and tips. Admiring a Chrysanthemum stand with its many colours we were kindly given advice on both growing and techniques on how to display these flowers.

The gardener also gave us advice on how to pitch our horticultural skill ‘If you can’t grow Chrysanthemums, grow Dahlias, if they don’t grow try Carnations, if that’s not successful then plant daffodils and if they don’t grow – get a pond!’

I could imagine a group of youngsters sitting amongst the Urban style garden, pictured below. With paintings forming part of the structure and the stone seating it seemed to encourage company.

The Garden below was more formal, although restful (it had a water feature which on the day we went was not operating due to the weather)

Walking amongst the Show Gardens the creativity of gardeners, designers and artists is amazing and although my photos are not great (mixture of lack of skill, poor quality camera and grey weather) the photos hopefully have inspired you to visit.

There were also many displays of artistry amongst Flower arrangers and the Study in Blue below was one of my favourites.

Ever wondered what to do with the old car?

And my favourite:

The garden above was a small space yet had so much – flower beds, vegetables and herbs with a seating area and a small table for your tea. I just wanted to walk through the entrance, sit and read a book in the sunshine.

The next show is the Autumn Show 13-15th September 2019 (and currently there is an early bird ticket offer advertised)



And then it was time for home – and a cuppa.