Who knew saffron was once grown in Cornwall?
It is common knowledge that saffron is found in copious recipes in North African and Asian cuisines. I was surprised to find out that England had grown it during medieval times, thanks to Phoenician sailors who dropped by a lot earlier. Unfortunately, it was difficult to grow in such a damp climate and these days the world’s costliest spice is imported from Iran and Spain.
This recipe is from Mark Hix’s latest book, Hix Oyster & Chop House. Instead of using plain circle cutters I used flower-shape ones. These sweet bites weren’t difficult to prepare so why not give it a go?
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- 300g (10 oz) ready-made all-butter puff pastry
- plain flour for dusting
- 300ml (½ pint) single cream
- a good pinch of saffron strands
- 4 free-range medium egg yolks
- 50g (2 oz) caster sugar
- 7.5ml (1½ tsp) corn flour
- Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to a 3mm (1/8 inch) thickness and prick it thoroughly all over with a fork. Loosely fold into three, wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for 30-40 minutes.
- Have ready a 12-hole muffin tray. Unfold the pastry and cut out circles, using a 9-10cm cutter. Use to line the muffin tins, pushing the pastry into the corners and trimming the tops with a sharp knife. Line with discs of greaseproof paper and baking beans and rest in the fridge for 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan 160°C/350°F/gas 4). Bake the tart cases for 10-15 minutes until they begin to colour, then remove the paper and beans and leave to cool for a few minutes.
- Meanwhile, put the cream and saffron into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Take off the heat and leave to infuse for 10 minutes.
- In a bowl, mix together the egg yolks, sugar and corn flour. Pour the infused cream onto the egg mixture, stirring well with a whisk. Return the pan and cook over a low heat for several minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the custard thickens; don’t let it boil. Pour into a jug.
- Pour the saffron custard into the tart cases and bake for 10-12 minutes until set. Leave to cool a little, then loosen the tarts with a small knife and carefully remove from the tin. Serve warm or cold.
- The Polish’s answer to the classic custard slice.
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 149
- Sugar: 10.5 g
- Sodium: 68 mg
- Fat: 6.8 g
- Saturated Fat: 4.2 g
- Carbohydrates: 19.5 g
- Protein: 2.2 g
- Cholesterol: 47 mg