Having a few friends over for a lazy lunch on Saturday. And, just to pretend that summer is on the way, this is the 'pudding' I'm making, courtesy of a local supermarket's magazine recipe
"This fabulous lemon-scented custard tart is topped with whole strawberries and finished with white chocolate shapes. The pastry and custard can be made a day in advance, then the tart assembled just before serving.
Preparation time 1 hour, plus chilling
Cooking time 30 minutes
For the sweet pastry
150g plain flour
75g butter, slightly softened
75g golden caster sugar
3 large egg yolks
For the custard
500ml semi-skimmed milk
1 vanilla pod, split lengthways
6 large egg yolks
75g golden caster sugar
3 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp cornflour
Finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
½ x 200g bar Belgian White Chocolate, broken into small chunks
600-800g whole fresh strawberries, washed, drained and hulled
4 tbsp Redcurrant Jelly
Make the sweet pastry: place the flour, butter and sugar in a food processor and blend until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolks and blend until the dough just starts to come together. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and gently knead for 1 minute or until smooth. Wrap tightly in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 190°C, gas mark 5. Lightly grease a 20cm round, 3½cm-deep loose-bottomed cake tin or flan ring. Place on a baking sheet.
Make the custard: place the milk in a heavy-based saucepan with the vanilla pod and bring almost to boiling point. Turn off the heat and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, place the eggs and sugar in a medium sized bowl and, using a whisk, whisk together for 1-2 minutes until thick, pale and creamy. Add the flour, cornflour and lemon zest and continue to whisk until smooth.
Remove and discard the vanilla pod. Strain the milk gradually into the egg mixture through a fine sieve, whisking all the time. Pour the mixture back into the pan and cook over the lowest possible heat, whisking until the custard has started to bubble and thicken. Cook for 1-2 minutes to fully cook the flour. Remove from the heat, pour into a jug and leave to cool, placing a small piece of Roll out to a circle about 5cm larger than the diameter of the prepared tin. Line the tin carefully, then gently press the pastry against the tin’s sides with your fingertips to increase the height very slightly. Prick the base and line with baking parchment, then fill with baking beans. Chill for at least 15 minutes, then place in the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes. Remove the beans and cook for a further 5 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and just cooked. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin slightly. Remove carefully from its tin and cool on a cooling rack.
While the pastry cooks, make the decorations. Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water. Do not allow the water to come into contact with the bowl. Line 3 baking trays with baking parchment. Make a small piping cone from a 25-30cm square of baking parchment. Fold in half diagonally, roll into a cone and secure by folding a corner over the top. Pour the chocolate into the bag and snip off the end with scissors. Pipe the chocolate onto the trays in shapes and place in the fridge to set.
Spoon the custard into the pastry case. Top with the strawberries and brush with the warmed redcurrant jelly. Gently add the chocolate decorations. Serve immediately.
Make chocolate curls if you don’t want to make the shapes. Either shave the chocolate using a Y-shaped peeler or, for longer curls, melt the chocolate as before and spread over a clean, flat surface. When cold and set, run a large cook’s knife at a 45° angle along the chocolate in long sweeping movements.
For a decadent look, pile on the full 800g of strawberries in a pyramid shape."