The idea behind this tart came about many years ago when I was travelling through the Indian Himalayas. It was here that I first tasted the flavours of masala chai, the spiced sweet milky tea that is drunk in all chai shops in India. At first I wanted to make a custard flavoured with these spices and years later, when the Bakery opened its doors, I did, only by then it had morphed into a chai spiced brûlée. Although we call it the ginger brûlée tart, it actually contains some of the spices commonly used in masala chai and is a popular favourite at the Bakery.
This tart filling is one of the most challenging in the book — the brûlée filling is easy to overcook and easy to undercook. This version of the filling uses pouring cream with a 35 per cent fat content, which results in a softer filling than the one we produce at the Bakery, where we use a cream with 45 per cent fat that is often hard to find in shops.
Put the cream into a saucepan over high heat and add the ginger, cardamom and cinnamon stick. As soon as it boils, remove from the heat, pour into a large container or bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator overnight for the flavours to infuse.
Reheat the infused cream in a saucepan over medium–high heat, bring to simmering point, then remove from the heat. Set aside until needed.
Place the egg yolks in a stainless steel bowl and use a whisk to combine. Add the sugar and continue whisking for about 30 seconds, or until the sugar has dissolved. Pour the warmed cream through a fine sieve, discarding the spices, then pour the cream into the egg yolk mixture, whisking well to combine.
Put the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl does not touch the water, and continue stirring with a whisk for about 10–15 minutes, or until the mixture is smooth and thick, scraping down the sides of the bowl regularly with a rubber spatula. It is important to keep stirring at all times or the mixture will curdle. Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk briskly for about 2 minutes to cool it quickly. Over the next 1 hour, whisk the mixture every 10 minutes until cooled. Use a rubber spatula to clean the side of the bowl thoroughly and place plastic wrap directly on top of the mixture; refrigerate overnight to set.
Follow the instructions to roll out the pastry and use it to line twenty
Pipe the custard into the tart shells with a piping (icing) bag fitted with a plain nozzle — you should just slightly overfill the filling in each one. With a small pallet knife, scrape the custard to be flush with the top of the tart shell. Place in the refrigerator to set for 4 hours.
If you prefer, you can omit the blowtorch step and serve the tarts simply with the ginger custard — just sprinkle a few pistachios directly onto the custard to serve.
© 2009 All rights reserved. Published by Murdoch Books.