Nelly Elliott

Newcastle based blogger, mama, creative, coffee-only with my oxygen, vegan, plus-size fashion lover and feminist.


My Baking Mad Casting Adventure & Recipe.

Regular readers of my blog will be aware that I recently applied to take part in the new series of Baking Mad with Eric Lanlard. I was a bit apprehensive at first and came over all self-doubty and weird so wasn't going to apply. But after lots of lovely comments, tweets, facebook messages and emails I decided to go for it. If I have learned anything this year it is that life is just too short.

Last Monday I set off on a little road trip to Leeds for the casting day. My lovely lovely sister offered to drive which was great, I love road-tripping with my sister as we spend most of it just loudly singing along to anything and everything. Plus on the way back we got to messily munch on all the leftover baked goodies. Bonus!

For my casting interview I had to take something baked along to "wow" them. I spent about 2 weeks worrying and planning what I would take. I firstly decided to take my triple threat cupcakes as they were deemed the most "wow" worthy. But when I practiced them the weekend before they didn't go to plan at all.

After having a long chat with friends I finally decided to avoid cake altogether as I imagined that everyone would be taking cake/cupcakes to casting. So, I decided to stick to my strengths and went for pastry! I love making pastry and it is the thing I probably have the most experience in if I am honest...

So, I made a lovely selection of mini-tarts (which turned out to be not so mini). Lemon meringue, Egg custard and a bakewell tart.

The Lemon Meringue didn't survive the journey unscathed. The meringue crumbled and cracked and looked a bit of a mess, but it did taste bloody good! The bakewell looked lovely, nice and golden and the pastry was cooked to perfection (no soggy bottoms here!) but the frangipane was a little bland to me, I think next time some almond extract would make it a bit more flavourful.

The Egg Custard however was a triumph! A TRIUMPH! It was absolutely delicious, the pastry was crisp and buttery with just a hint of nutmeg, the custard was rich with a strong vanilla flavour and the sprinkling of nutmeg on top finished it off beautifully. I am a big egg cutard fan in general but had never made it myself before. Will definitely be making it again though! Since the egg custard was such a success I thought I would share the recipe with you.

Vanilla Egg Custard Tart with Nutmeg Shortcrust

For the Pastry
  • 125g plain flour
  • 75g unsalted butter , cold and diced
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 egg white
  • pinch of nutmeg

    For the Custard
  • 4 large eggs
  • 140g golden caster sugar
  • 300ml double cream
  • 300ml whole milk
  • One sachet of vanilla paste (you can use extract or pod instead)
  • pinch of nutmeg

  • I have never made pastry in a food processor before, not out of any sort of snobbery or preference, just because I never had a food processor before! A friend of mine offered to lend me hers so I snapped her arm off! It was very easy and will have to get a processor of my own some day.
    I simple added the flour, sugar, butter cubes into the processor and pulsed until it got to the bread crumbs stage. Then added the egg yolk and pulsed until it formed a dough.

    TIP: If it still seems a little dry or not binding together well you can add a teaspoon of cold water as well.

    I tipped it out of the processor, wrapped in clingfilm and refrigerated for 30mins or so. You can keep it in the fridge for a while so don't worry about exact timings with this bit, you just want it to be nice and cold when rolling.

    Once chilled roll it out to around 3mm thickness, at this stage I sprinkled with nutmeg and folded and rolled a few times so the pastry was infused with nutmeg.

    Line your chosen tin. Prick the bottom with a fork a few times and pop in the fridge again for 20mins.

    Once chilled line the tin with parchment and baking beans and blind bake for 15 minutes, less time if doing mini ones, slightly more if doing big one. Use your judgement on this. You want the crust to be slightly golden.

    Take out of the oven and brush the pastry with the egg white, pop back in the oven for 2-3 minutes, then remove and let it cool slightly.

    Now onto the egg custard. Start by whisking the eggs and sugar together in a large bowl or jug (jusy makes the last stage easier) and set aside.

    Pop the milk, cream and vanilla into a sauce pan and bring to the boil, once bubbles start appearing take it off the boil and pour it onto the egg and sugar mixture; whisking continuously, (this is one of those things that you might need 3 arms for) just take it slow and whisk until fully combined.

    Put your pastry tin in the oven and pull the shelf out. Pour the custard directly into the pastry and top with a light sprinkle of nutmeg, carefully push the shelf in. This helps avoid spillage.

    Cook on about 150C (130 fan), my medium sized tart took around 35-40 minutes but larger/deeper ones might take an hour. Mini ones obviously take less time. What you are looking for is a set custard with a slight jiggle in the middle.

    Let it cool in the tin for a bit and then voila! Egg custard tart!

    I really enjoyed my trip to Leeds, the city itself is beautiful and as the castings were running a bit behind we got a chance to explore a bit which was great! I had been to Leeds before but had forgotten how great it is, the shopping is amazing!

    Hopefully I will hear back from the Baking Mad TV team soon, wish me luck!