My son is spending an extremely rare 10 days with his dad and suddenly, I find myself with time on my hands. It is a bit surreal, and just slightly disorienting. To be more precise, I feel like I've temporarily lost a limb, but I'm coping. I keep thinking if I were back on my home turf I would have no trouble filling this sudden void with work and friends and any number of things. And since London is a city I already know well, sightseeing is not really on my To Do list, although I did partake of a very unique theater/film installation called Curtain Call at the Roundhouse Theater by artist Ron Arad the other day. An in-the-round curtain of long silicone tubes form a 360 degree screen on which numerous artists' short film work is projected and supported by Dolby surround sound. It was pretty incredible and dream-like, and with a pay-as-you-can admission price, a great thing to catch between now and the end of the month if you happen to be in London.
While my days have mostly been filled with trying to not procrastinate too much and make headway with rewriting a script, then a bit of exercise, one has to eat, doesn’t one? Which leads me to the Portuguese Custard Tart (see above photo, bottom, accompanied by orange-coconut cakes). This indescribably lovely, little confection can be found, in its truest form, at the Portuguese Lisboa Patisserie on Golborne Road in North Kensington. My friends first introduced me to it the other night when they made their own version at home. It is a combination of flaky pastry crust which holds a not too sweet, yellow custard interior. It’s hard to imagine something so simple could be so good. Not only is the taste just amazing, but somehow it achieves the perfect balance of crunchy and smooth textures in your mouth which makes it truly, a little gastronomic epiphany. If you would like to try making your own, check out this Youtube video from British celebrity chef John Torode – very entertaining as well - or his recipe below.
Portuguese Custard Tarts
375g shop bought puff pastry (or make your own)
1 T. cornflour (cornstarch)
275ml double cream (whipping cream)
230g granulated sugar
6 egg yolks
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Using a 9cm pastry cutter, cut out circles from the pastry. Press the dough circles into a 6-hole non-stick muffin tin. Remove and trim any overhang with the back of a knife so that the pastry cups are flush with the top of the tins.
2. Line the pastry with greaseproof (wax) paper and fill each pastry cup with baking beans. Bake for 5 minutes and then carefully remove the beans and bake for a further 5 minutes, or until the pastry has puffed up slightly, but is not golden-brown yet. While the pastry is baking, make the custard.
3. For the custard: dissolve the cornflour with 50ml of the cream in a mixing bowl. Add the remaining cream and sugar, and stir until the mixture is smooth and the sugar has completely dissolved.
4. In a small bowl, lightly beat the yolks with a fork until smooth. Add the yolks to the cream mixture, stirring gently to combine. Ladle the egg mixture into the partially baked pastry cups, filling to two-thirds capacity.
5. Bake until the edges of the custard are puffed and the middle is still wobbly (it shouldn’t set completely) - this will take 20-25 minutes. Leave to cool slightly, before removing and placing on a wire rack to cool. Serve.
actor-writer-director, improviser, mother, traveler, general renegade and rabblerouser.