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Portugese-style custard tarts made with Rodda’s custard

Rodda’s, the 124-year-old family business, best known for its golden encrusted clotted cream (and where better to have it but on top of ice cream at this time of year) has recently broken with tradition and taken on the supermarkets by producing custard made with 20% clotted cream.

As Nick Rodda explains: “Custard was a natural extension into puddings for us, supermarkets were only stocking their own brand of fresh custards with no local provenance and we wanted to offer something different to customers.”

The initial recipe was tested by local dairy farmers, probably the harshest but most passionate of critics, who fed back on consistency and taste, and the recipe was developed accordingly. “Taste and flavour were paramount to us, we didn’t want to make something that just tasted of sugar. It has a silky smooth taste and a creamy richness that is not over sweet,” said Nick.

Custard for me, evokes memories of the school canteen; it could be pink, green, sometimes yellow, super runny or stodgy thick, setting to a skin draped over sponge pudding.

The Rodda’s reworking of an English classic is unlike any other custard on the market – this is a pale (reflecting the amount of clotted cream in it) vanilla-flecked version, definitely not too sweet and hugely indulgent eaten cold with fruit or pastries (I particularly liked it with some leftover poached pears). More of a cross between liquid ice-cream and custard, this is a recipe that retains a homemade colour and taste that has not been over-yellowed or over-sweetened.

The custard launched last year at the Cornwall Food & Drink Festival and is available at independent food stores in Cornwall, as well as Tesco’s. The team will be offering custard sampling at food festivals across Cornwall this summer.

Ingredients for 12 tarts:

500g of ready-made puff pastry or your own homemade

500g Rodda’s ready-made custard

1 egg

cinnamon or nutmeg and some icing sugar

Some plump Californian raisins (optional)

Set your oven to 200C and butter a muffin tin. Scatter some icing sugar over a bench to roll out your pastry. The beauty of this is that the sugar crusts to a gooey caramel on the outside of the tart. Roll out the pastry until about 2mm thick. Using a generous coffee cup, press out 12 circles.

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Drop the pastry circles into the muffin holes and loosely press down (don’t worry if it curves and doubles over – this adds to the homemade appeal). Put the pastry to rest in the fridge for about an hour. In a large bowl whisk the custard with the egg.

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If you are using raisins, scatter about 5 or 6 into the bottom of each pastry case, then pour over the custard – filling each tart about three-quarters.

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Grate or sprinkle some nutmeg of cinnamon onto the top of each tart (be generous with this) and put in the oven for about 20 minutes. The tarts should come out with black dots on the custard and the pastry should be browned. Allow to cool for a few minutes then remove from the tin. Best eaten completely cold, and if you can wait, the following day.

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