Rich, wintery, spiced butternut custard tart

A rich, butternut custard tart, spiked with wintery flavours, set in a crispy pastry shell. This moreish pie holds its soft filling when sliced, but is best served slightly cooled at room temperature and works well chilled too. Be sure to have lots of pouring cream or ice cream to serve alongside, and as always, enough for at least two helpings per person.

Looking for something gluten-free? This pie can be that, too. Skip the pastry and pour the filling into ramekins, and bake in a bain-marie for about half an hour until set.

Ingredients:

Serves: 6-8 | Prep: 30 minutes | Cook: 1 hour 20 minutes

For the pastry

250 g flour
180 g butter, cut into cubes
2 tsp castor sugar
A pinch of nutmeg (whole, grated)
1 whole egg, beaten
water
For the filling
1 butternut, peeled and chopped to ½ inch pieces (800 g when peeled)
3 eggs
150 g dark brown sugar
120 ml cream
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ginger
Zest of half a lemon
1 x 28 cm tart tin

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180° C.
2. Place the chopped butternut on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 45 minutes, until cooked through.
3. Remove and allow to cool slightly.
For the pastry
1. Rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
2. Stir in the caster sugar, then add the nutmeg, egg yolk, and enough water to mix into a dough.
3. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
4. Roll the pastry out to about 3 mm thick, making sure the pastry is just larger than your chosen dish. If you wish to create some sort of pastry decal for the top of your pie, now’s the time to do that.  These need to be baked separately because they will sink into your pumpkin mixture should you put them on before the pie goes in.
5. Press the pastry into a pie flan, making sure not to stretch the dough.
6. Prick the pastry all over, then place in the oven and bake blind for 10 minutes, then remove the baking paper and beans and return to the oven for another 10 minutes. (Baking blind involves covering the pastry with baking parchment and pouring over pastry beans or rice to weigh the pastry down. Note that the baking times refer to the 28 cm x 3 cm tart tin, if you use a pie dish you’ll have to add a little cooking time as the dish is deeper.)
7. Remove and set aside whilst you finish the filling.
8. Preheat the oven to 170° C.
For the filling
1. Blend the cool butternut in a Magimix until smooth.
2. Add the remaining filling ingredients to the blender and blend until mixed well.
3. Pour the mixture into the cooked tart case and return to the oven.
4. Roll out the leftover pastry and cut out shapes, then pop these on a separate baking sheet in the oven and bake for about 8–10 minutes, until golden brown.
5. Bake the tart for 25–30 minutes, until just set, then use the pastry shapes to decorate the top of the tart.
Enjoy with a generous drizzle of cream.

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