I’m delighted to be participating in a very special giveaway (and, actually, my first ever giveaway!) to celebrate the anniversaries of 3 wonderful bloggers today (not me! I still have to wait a while to celebrate my first!) I have a recipe for you first but don’t forget to scroll down to the end for your chance to win a $250 Amazon card!
My first attempt at making any sort of caramel was a complete disaster. I was living in Greece and had some Belgian friends popping in for the night – on the return leg of their honeymoon, I do believe – and wanted to make a simple but tasty dessert to go with the grilled fish and Greek salad I was serving for dinner.
After looking through a few cookbooks, I came across a recipe for sliced oranges drizzled with caramel. Mmm, sounded yummy and easy, I thought. It also seemed like a great dessert for such a roaring hot summer’s day. So, I quickly sliced up my oranges and lay them prettily on a large plate, then set out to make my ‘quick and easy’ caramel. Oh, how naïve I could be! Even though I thought I’d followed the recipe instructions perfectly, I ended up with a burnt solid mess in my pan and a horrible smell to match to permeate my smallish apartment just in time for when my guests arrived. Oh yes, they quickly informed me. Caramel is notoriously difficult to make. You have to make sure you do this, this, this and this. None of which I had done, of course.
Now this was a good few years ago and I haven’t attempted making any caramel since, so as you can imagine I embarked on making the orange caramel for my recipe today with trepidation. Only a little though, since I was following a Jamie Oliver recipe … and he made it look super simple on his Youtube vid, so really, what could go wrong?
Well, as it turns out, a lot. I’m not sure if I should be admitting this, but my attempt to get the right caramel for these beautiful tarts soon became a comedy of errors. The first time I just didn’t let it cook for long enough which resulted in something resembling a layer of tasteless glass over my lovely Portuguese custard tarts. Oops – peel it off and start again. My next attempt was more flavourful but still likely to end up with a visit to the dentist to fix a few broken teeth. After a couple more attempts with questionable results and after watching a video by a delightful Italian caramel-making guru, I finally came up with something that I would be happy to recommend that you splash over your Portuguese custard tarts!
In the end I opted for adding a few splashes of hot water to my caramel at the end to make a simple sauce that doesn’t set rock hard but stays pourable. I thought this complemented the tarts really well, but if you like you could add a splash or two of warmed cream and even a little butter to make a richer caramel sauce. Another option (which I think would work really well) is to simply sprinkle a little sugar over your finished tarts and caramelize the sugar with a kitchen blow torch , like you would for a crème brûlée.
Now for the Portuguese custard tarts themselves. I have always wanted to try making these and definitely wasn’t disappointed. I can’t say that this version (Jamie Oliver’s …) is super authentic, but what I can say for sure is that they are delicious with lovely subtle tones of cinnamon and orange in them. AND really quick and easy to make (but of course).
I really hope you have a go at these sometime and enjoy them … and most of all that you don’t get into half as much of a sticky mess as I did while doing so!
[Remember to scroll down to below the recipe for the giveaway!]
Portuguese Custard Tarts with Orange Caramel Sauce
Ingredients (UK/Australia? Click below for grams/ml)
For the Portuguese custard tarts
- 1 sheet of puff pastry
- ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup crème fraiche or heavy cream if you can’t find crème fraiche
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- zest of ½ an orange
For the caramel
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- juice of 1 orange
- 1/4 cup hot water or cream for a richer sauce
For the custard tarts
- Pre-heat the oven to 390F/200C and lightly grease or oil a muffin tin (with medium-sized holes).
- Lay the pastry out flat and sprinkle cinnamon all over it, rubbing it in a little to cover the whole sheet. Then roll up the pastry and cut it in the middle to make two rolls. Then cut each roll into three. In the end you will have 6 small rolls.
- Put each roll on its end and squash it down with the palm of your hand to make a circle. Then place each circle of pastry in a muffin hole and squash and pull it up the sides of the tin to make a little cup.
- Bake the pastry cases for 8 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together the crème fraiche, sugar, egg and orange zest.
- Take the pastry cases out of the oven and flatten them down and pull them up the sides of the muffin holes a little with the back of a teaspoon.
- Spoon some of the crème fraiche mixture into each of the pastry cases (as close to the top as you can), then bake for another 8 to 10 minutes. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
For the caramel topping
- Put the sugar in a small saucepan in an even layer and begin melting it on a medium heat. As it begins to clump and melt, add in the orange juice and stir until all the sugar has melted. Then let the mixture simmer. Don’t stir it, just keep swirling it until it turns a caramel colour (you decide how dark you want it, but be careful not to let it burn – it can happen quickly!)
- When the colour is as you’d like, take the caramel off the heat and add your hot water or cream (warm the cream a little first in the microwave) and stir in well.
- Drizzle a little caramel over each tart just before serving. Enjoy!
Now for the exciting giveaway! I’m helping
Marcie at Flavor the Moments to celebrate her 2nd blog anniversary
Meghan at Spoonful of Flour to celebrate her second too; and
Ashley at Wishes and Dishes to celebrate her 3rd!
I really hope you hop on over to these wonderful blogs and wish the girls a happy blogiversary! I also hope you enter the draw below for your chance to win that $250 Amazon card.
As I’m sure you can see, you can enter many times by ‘liking’ each of the different blogs taking part on Facebook and Pinterest. Now of course I hope you will ‘like’ me first, but I do hope that you’ll ‘like’ some of the other blogs taking part, too.
The draw will run for 2 weeks until Monday 29th September. Good luck!
*Unfortunately you must reside in the USA or Canada to take part – sorry UK, Australia and rest-of-Europe readers! If it makes you feel any better, I wouldn’t be able to take part either 🙁
Finally, for those who are interested, here are all of the blogs taking part in the giveaway. I hope you pay some of them a visit some time soon!
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