Cookbook road test: Dairy-free Delicious by Katy Salter

Cookbook road test: Dairy-free Delicious by Katy Salter

By Sophie Pryn

Increasingly, we’re hearing about people who have made drastic changes to their diets, often, because of illness. Take Sarah Wilson of I Quit Sugar fame or Deliciously Ella, for example, whose new book we reviewed a few weeks ago. Katy Salter is another case in point. She’s a food journalist who, until she got gastroenteritis and became lactose-intolerant, enjoyed eating everything.

Her book, Dairy-Free Delicious is divided into two parts. Half of the recipes are based on dishes from countries where dairy isn’t as widely used, such as Vietnamese chicken and pumpkin curry and Thai-inspired khao soi noodles. The rest are recipes that are usually laden with cream, milk or cheese, such as eggs benedict, Victoria sponge and lasagne – but for which Katy has substituted dairy-free ingredients.

I made the Portuguese-style coconut custard tarts – which are, of course, normally made with cow’s milk – so I could test the book’s credentials.

Katy’s coconut custard tarts

Here’s the recipe:

Makes 12

  • 2 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 500g block of ready-made puff pastry (NOT the all-butter kind)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons golden caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 12-hole muffin tray, generously greased with dairy-free spread

1. Lightly dust your work surface with icing sugar and roll out the puff pastry block to a thickness of around 5mm. Cut out 12 circles using a 10-cm round cookie cutter. Press these into the holes of the prepared muffin tray. Prick the bottoms of each case lightly with a fork then put the tray in the fridge to chill while you make the coconut custard. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.

2. Whisk the egg yolks, sugar, cornflour together in a bowl. Pour the coconut milk into a saucepan and stir in the vanilla extract. Heat until simmering over a low-medium heat, removing it just when it starts to bubble around the edges of the pan; don’t let it boil.

3. Pour onto the egg and sugar mixture in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly with a balloon whisk to combine. Once you’ve got a smooth custard, return it to the pan and cook over a very low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until quite thick.

4. Remove the muffin tray from the fridge and pour the custard into the 12 pastry cases. Uses a small, fine-mesh sieve to sprinkle a little cinnamon over the tops of the custards. Bake on a high shelf in the oven for 25 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and the custard set.

5. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 2 minutes in the tin before transferring the tarts to a wire rack to cool. Best eaten when slightly warm.

My (slightly lopsided) coconut custard tarts!

The coconut custard was great (I ate quite a lot of it on its own with a spoon!) and had a subtle coconut flavour. However, as you can see, my tarts weren’t perfect – the custard almost spilled out in the oven. It may have been something to do with the thickness of the custard – I fear mine wasn’t quite thick enough.

The tarts don’t keep terribly well. You can heat them up in the oven to revive them a little but if you need another excuse to eat all of them fresh from the oven, this is it!

Looking for more dairy-free inspiration? Check out our collection of recipes here.

Recipe extracted from Dairy-Free Delicious by Katy Salter (Quadrille; £18.99) © Katy Salter 2015. Photography © Laura Edwards.

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