Tonka bean is redolent of vanilla and marzipan, with a hint of clove, and has a particular affinity with custard. Their slightly bitter flavour complements the sweet custard and gives a new lease of life to a beloved classic bake.
Tonka beans contain coumarin, which can be toxic if consumed in high quantities, so resist the temptation to make and eat several batches a day!
Ingredients for tonka bean custard tarts Serves: 12
- 1 x 325g sheet of ready rolled puff pastry (preferably all butter)
- Soft, unsalted butter for greasing
- 1 whole medium egg
- 3 medium egg yolks
- 100g caster sugar
- 20g cornflour
- 325ml whole milk
- 2 tonka beans
Method for tonka bean custard tarts
- Preheat the oven to 220°C (200°C fan). Lightly grease a 12-hole muffin tray with approx. 10g unsalted butter and refrigerate.
- Take the ready rolled puff pastry out of the fridge to warm up for 10 minutes, while you make the custard.
- Put 1 whole medium egg and 3 medium egg yolks into a heatproof bowl with caster sugar, cornflour and whisk to a paste.
- Put the whole milk in a pan and bring to the boil. Once boiling, gradually whisk it into the egg mixture. Finely grate over 1 tonka bean and mix it in. Return the custard to the pan and whisk, over a very gentle heat, for about 5 minutes, or until the custard has thickened. Tip the custard into a jug and cover the top with clingfilm to prevent a skin forming.
- Unroll the pastry and finely grate 1 tonka bean, evenly over the rectangle of pastry. Roll the pastry up its the longest side, into a fairly tight sausage. Cut the pastry into 12 equal pieces. If the pastry has become sticky, pop it in the freezer for 5 minutes. With the cut side on top, squish each spiral of pastry down flat with your hand, to form a disc. Then, use a rolling pin to gently make each disc bigger, trying to make sure you retain its roundness, until it is approx. 3mm thick, and will fit comfortably inside a muffin hole. Press each disc of pastry into the holes of the muffin tray and pop the tray into the fridge for 20-30 minutes, to allow the pastry to firm up.
- Press a square of baking parchment into each hole (it’s easiest if you crumple the parchment up first) and fill each hole with baking beans. Bake the pastry cases for 8-10 minutes, then remove the beans and parchment; the pastry will still be quite raw.
- Fill each hole with custard. Return the tray to the oven and bake for a further 15-20 minutes, or until the custard has fully set, with burnished spots on top and the pastry is a rich golden colour.
- Leave the tarts to cool, in the tin, for 10 minutes, before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.