I would never have even thought to attempt these before lockdown. But I asked for suggestions on my Instagram as to what to make and my lovely friend Matt requested these. They are a firm family favourite in the Bohan household so the suggestion was met with a lot of enthusiasm here!
For the dough -
1 cup plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup cold water
4oz butter, very soft
For the sugar syrup -
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup water
1 cinnamon stick
For the custard base -
1/3 cup plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 + 1/2 cup whole milk
6 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. In a mixing bowl, combine your flour and salt. Make a well in the middle and add the water. Bring it together into a sticky dough using a wooden spoon. Tip the dough out onto a floured surface. Gently knead into a round shape. Cover with your mixing bowl and let the dough sit for 10-15 minutes.
2. Roll the dough into a 12x12 inch square, about 1/8 inch thick. Spread one third of the very soft butter over two thirds of the dough square. Fold one third of the butter covered section over, then fold the unbuttered third over the top to complete a letter fold.
3. Rotate the dough (from portrait to landscape!) and repeat step 2. Once the second fold is complete, place the dough on a baking tray and chill for 10 minutes.
4. Roll out again into a 12x12 inch square. Spread the last third of butter over the entire square, leaving one inch unbuttered at the bottom. Roll the dough from the top down to the bottom. Dampen the butterless inch with cold water, which will help to seal the roll of dough. Wrap in cling film and chill for a minimum of 2 hours, but ideally overnight.
5. Once chilled, take your pastry out of the fridge. Trim the ends off, divide and cut into 12 equal pieces. Wet your fingers and thumbs with cold water. Use your thumb to press each piece dough into a 12-cup muffin tray. It will need to be incredibly thin. Use the trimmed ends to patch any holes that appear. It needs to be an 1/8 inch above the top of the case. Pop in the fridge to chill until required.
6. To make the sugar syrup, put the sugar, water and cinnamon stick in a stainless steel saucepan on a medium heat. Do NOT stir it. Let it come to the boil then remove from the heat.
7. To make the custard base, put the flour, salt and milk into a saucepan on a medium heat. Whisk until it begins to thicken. Remove from the heat and leave for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin forming. Whisk in the egg yolks, sugar syrup and vanilla extract. Using a sieve, strain the custard into a jug. This will make it a lot easier to pour into the pastry cases.
8. Preheat your oven as hot as it will go, I had mine on 300°. Take the cases out of the fridge and fill each case 2/3 full with custard. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and the custard has begun to burn and blister on the top.
This was the original recipe and video I followed. It's an American recipe so the quantities are in cups. When I make them again, I will add the grams/ml on here. I was so pleased with how they turned out! The pastry was so crispy and flaky. The custard was soft and sweet. Absolutely delicious. Video coming soon!