Grape tarts

This recipe works well with grapes that are sweet but still slightly tart. Any leftover custard, virtually a pudding in its own right, will keep, covered, in the fridge for several days.

This recipe works well with grapes that are sweet but still slightly tart. Any leftover custard, virtually a pudding in its own right, will keep, covered, in the fridge for several days. Makes 8 Confectioner’s Custard (Crème Patisserie) 1 egg yolk 1 egg ½ teaspoon vanilla extract 40g caster sugar 150ml milk 150ml double cream 2 level tablespoons cornflour Whisk the egg and yolk in a roomy bowl. Whisk in the vanilla and sugar. Mix the cornflour to a smooth paste with 3-4 tablespoons of cold milk from the measured amount. Warm the milk and cream together until almost boiling. Pour into the cornflour paste, whisking gently throughout. Whisk the  cornflour mixture into the egg mixture. Wash the pan and return the mixture. Cook gently, stirring with a  wooden spoon. As the mixture thickens, change to a whisk, turn off  the heat and whisk until smooth and creamy. Cool and store covered in the fridge. Pastry 160g plain flour 80g cold butter, diced Pinch salt 25g caster sugar2 tablespoons cold water To Finish Halved grapes, any pips removed 1 teaspoon icing sugar Preheat oven to 180C (fan oven) or equivalent You will need 8 greased fluted, loose bottomed, 10cm tartlet tins, and a baking tray, plus baking beans and greaseproof paper Cut out 8 circles of greaseproof paper using one of the loose bottoms as a template. Whiz the flour, salt and butter into fine crumbs in the food processor. Add the sugar and whiz again. Add the water and whiz until the mixture starts to come together. Turn onto a floured board and knead lightly into a ball. Divide the pastry into 8 equal pieces. Working with one piece at a time, form it into a ball and roll out  gently, keeping it circular, on a lightly floured board with a floured  rolling pin, to a thickness of just less than ½ a centimetre. Drape the pastry circle over the prepared tin and lower into position. Firm it lightly into the fluted sides and coax it into shape. Run your  rolling pin carefully over the top of the tin so the fluted edges cut  through the excess pastry and trim it away. For ease of use, arrange the tartlet tins on a baking tray. Put a circle of greaseproof paper in each one and fill with baking beans. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until crisp and golden. Leave to settle and cool in the tin. Once cool, remove the baking beans from the pastry cases. Remove the greaseproof paper circles. Spoon a layer of crème patisserie into each tart. Arrange the grapes cut side down on top. Sift a little icing sugar over the top, stirring it through a tea strainer with a teaspoon, just before serving.