NEED TO KNOW
|Type of dish||Sweet treat|
|Cooking time||30 min - 1 hour|
Blueberry pastries are a delicious reward for the effort of making brunch.
I used to be a Sunday bruncher. No cafe was safe, I even reviewed them for a local radio station under the ridiculous moniker "Laura Latte". I'm still prone to silly names, but the 1-year-old, Rosamund, keeps me home at brunch time. There is nothing less relaxing than a toddler threatening a meltdown when you are trying to eat a Danish pastry.
I actually dislike making most brunch food. I'm terrible at poaching eggs and find flipping pancakes a dull way to spend a morning. However, motherhood causes many changes and, for me, one of them is giving in to making brunch.
Following on from last week's cheat's vol-au-vents, I made these sweet pastries. A true pastry chef would probably regard them as a blasphemous disaster, but they are perfectly do-able at home and everyone loves them. They left Rosamund a cooing, custard-smeared, blueberry-stained mess; myself and husband only marginally less so.
Because I find the gluey custard of bought pastries a little distressing, this thick homemade custard still has a bit of movement to it. Therefore, when making the pastry cases it is vital to only "mark" the inner circle (rather than cut), otherwise you risk a drippy custardy mess. I had two faulty ones last batch . . . nothing a plate didn't catch.
Thankfully, my efforts seldom go unrewarded. The husband is an avid flower buyer. Because of my seasonal and local ethos regarding food, I was put in a quandary by the "We Love NZ Grown Flowers" campaign. Call me a bimbo, but it just hadn't occurred to me to insist my husband ask where that lovely proffered bunch was grown.
Recognising Ruud Kleinpaste in the poster I gave him a quick call. Kleinpaste said that flowers grown internationally can be shipped through many ports, being sprayed at every turn for bio-security reasons. Being ardently anti-chemicals, I figure it is much easier and a lot nicer to support my local flower grower. Although I am reluctant to put my darling off his floral pursuits, he now tries to support local growers, too.
So, if you're up for a fancy homemade brunch try these delicious little treats this Sunday. They are actually better than the bought ones. And because good tucker is the key to any decent person's heart, you may even end up with a lovely bunch of locally grown flowers.
Blueberry and honey custard pastries
|Pre-made puff pastry (no additives, look for one that uses butter)|
|1 Tbsp milk|
|1 Tbsp caster sugar|
|1 punnet of New Zealand blueberries|
|Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.|
|Thickened honey custard:|
|2 free-range or organic egg yolks|
|1 Tbsp honey|
|½ cup milk|
|A dash of vanilla extract|
|2 Tbsp milk, extra|
|1 Tbsp cornflour|
|Use a 10cm cookie cutter to cut 8 large circles of pastry. Transfer to a lined baking tray. Inside each circle, mark another circle of 5cm.|
|Brush the frame created with milk and sprinkle with caster sugar.|
|Bake 15-20 minutes or until puffed and golden. Remove from the oven and cool, poke the centre until it breaks out and push it down to the bottom.|
|In a small bowl whisk together egg yolks and honey. Put milk and vanilla into a small saucepan and bring nearly to the boil. When bubbles begin to form around the wall of the pan remove from heat. Let mixture sit for a minute or two to cool so as not to scramble the eggs when combining.|
|Whisk the warm milk into the eggs.|
|Wash saucepan to remove milk proteins from the bottom, add milk and egg mixture, return to heat.|
|Combine the extra milk and cornflour. Add to pan with custard mix and heat slowly while stirring. I like to use a heatproof rubber spatula. Do not boil as it will split - the stirring will regulate its temperature (as well as stop it from sticking). However, the custard needs to get hot enough to thicken. Lift pan from the stove if it is getting too hot. If it boils and splits, quickly stir in an icecube - it often saves it.|
|Spoon into pastry cases and leave to set.|
|Pile with blueberries, drizzle with honey and serve with organic double cream.|
- Sunday Star Times
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