Damson custard tartlets
- August 2014
- Makes 6 tarts
- Hands-on time 1 hour, oven time 12-15 min, plus 15 min chilling
A sweet pastry holds a gorgeous custard and damson purée; a wonderful autumnal dessert recipe that you can make ahead so it’s great for a dinner party.
Looking for more ways to use the seasonal fruit? Take a look at all of our damson recipes, here.
- 28.3g (16.3g saturated)
- 52.4g (38.4g sugars)
Per ½ tartlet
- 350g damsons (see know how)
- 350g caster sugar
- 1 large free-range egg, plus
- 3 yolks (see tips)
- 1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped
- 2 tsp cornflour
- 400ml double cream
- Icing sugar to dust
For the pastry
- 100g unsalted butter, softened
- 75g caster sugar
- 3 large free-range egg yolks
- 200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- Put the damsons and 150g of the caster sugar in a pan with 200ml water. Cook over a medium heat for 10-15 minutes until the fruit has softened and the stones are falling out. Push through a sieve into a bowl, pressing through as much of the pulp as you can. Discard the stones and whatever’s left in the sieve. Put the damson purée back in the pan and bubble on the heat for a few minutes to form a thick, glossy sauce. Cool.
- To make the pastry, beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric hand mixer until fluffy. Gradually beat in the egg yolks. Mix in the flour and a pinch of salt, then bring the dough together using your hands. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead briefly. Shape into a disc, wrap in cling film, then chill for at least 15 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 200°C/fan180°C/gas 6. Divide the pastry into 6 equal portions. On a floured surface, roll out each piece to a circle 3mm thick. Use to line 6 x 10cm loose-bottomed fluted tart tins, pressing into the edges with your knuckles. Trim off any excess pastry.
- Prick the bases all over with a fork, then line with baking paper. Fill with baking beans or rice. Put the tarts on a baking sheet and blind-bake for 10 minutes. Remove the beans/rice and paper and bake for a further 5 minutes or until lightly golden.
- Whisk the egg, egg yolks, remaining caster sugar, vanilla seeds and cornflour together in a mixing bowl. In a pan, heat the cream until almost boiling, then pour over the egg mixture and whisk well.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4. Strain the custard through a sieve into a jug, then pour into the pastry cases. Drop 2-3 tbsp damson sauce onto each tartlet and let it sink in. Bake for 12-15 minutes until set but with a slight wobble in the middle (see tips).
- Leave to cool slightly, then remove the tarts from the tins. Serve warm or cold with any remaining damson sauce and a dusting of icing sugar.
If your oven runs hot you may want to turn it down slightly. Custard can curdle in a too-hot oven and you’re aiming for a just-set custard with a wobble.
Make sure there are no cracks in the pastry cases before you pour in the custard. If there are, brush with a little raw egg white and pop back in the oven for a minute or so.
Bag, label and freeze the unused egg whites for up to 3 months. Defrost fully before use.
Freeze the sauce and the pastry separately for up to 3 months.
Damsons are small, purple stone fruits that grow on trees and are in season from August to October. Buy them in farm shops and greengrocers, or use Victoria plums if you can’t find any.
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