Baked Egg Custard Tart
500g pack shortcrust pastry
1 whole nutmeg for grating
4 large eggs
140g golden caster sugar
300ml double cream
300ml whole milk
1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out
1. Heat oven to 180C. 2. Roll the pastry out to about 1cm thick,
then grate over a dusting of nutmeg using a fine
grater. Fold the dough in half, then roll out again, and large
enough to line a 20cm loose-bottomed sandwich tin with some
overhang. Press the pastry into the tin (leaving the excess draped
over the sides), put onto a baking sheet and chill for 10 mins.
Line the pastry with baking parchment and fill with baking beans.
Bake for 20 mins, then remove beans and paper. Bake for another 15
mins until golden. Trim the edges of the tart with a sharp serrated
3. Turn oven down to 130C fan. 4. Whisk together the eggs and
sugar in a large bowl. Put the cream, milk, vanilla pod and
seeds into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Pour onto the eggs,
whisking as you go. Sieve into a jug.
5. Pour in the custard into the pastry, right to the top. You
may not need every last drop. Grate over a nice layer of nutmeg,
then slide gently back into the oven and bake for 1 hour.
6. When its ready, the tart should be set and pale golden on the
top, and have just the merest tremor in the centre when you jiggle
the tray. Cool completely, then serve in slices.
How long one boils an egg is really up to the individual. A
very, very soft-boiled egg (rare) will take
only 3 minutes. A medium-rare (very soft) will take 4 minutes.
And what I think most people prefer,
a medium egg, with that just-soft yolk, will take 5 minutes. But
what is the secret?
First, its to have your eggs at room temperature. A cold egg
cooked straight from the fridge will
have such a change in pressure that it will crack. This then
releases some albumen (the egg white),
which creates uneven cooking. Water that is boiling will also
create turbulence, jiggling the eggs
around so that they could quite easily crack into one
- For soft boiled eggs
The easiest way is to bring your saucepan of water to a gentle
simmer. Using a tablespoon, carefully
lower the egg or eggs into the water. Once the water has
returned to the same simmering point,
cook for 3-5 minutes rare to medium.
Or you can sit the eggs in a saucepan of cold water, bring to a
fast simmer and then lift the pan from
the heat. Place a lid on the pot and leave the eggs standing in
the hot water for 4-5 minutes (a
minute longer for very large eggs). The egg is now ready to
enjoy (with lots of toast fingers)
Alternatively you can carefully sit the egg in simmering water
and cook for 1 minute. Remove from
the stove and complete as for the cold water method. Leave
standing in the pot with a lid on top.
- Hard-boiled eggs
In many recipes youre told to boil the eggs for 10-12 minutes.
Surely that can leave nothing but a
very dry, crumbly egg yolk with that delicious looking black
border between the yolk and the
white. The best way is to sit the eggs in a saucepan of boiling
water and bring to a fast simmer. Cook
for 7-8 minutes and then remove the eggs running them under cold
water for 1-2 minutes to calm
the cooking. Now leave to cool to room temperature. Once cooled,
peel and cut to reveal an egg
that is totally cooked but with a slightly soft and moist
Classic Scrambled Eggs
After beating yolks and whites together, theres the option of
adding liquid to the eggs,
which will break down the coagulating mass, giving you a softer
and moister finish. Milk,
water or cream can be used. The thought of water doesnt excite
me at all, and cream will
give you a very rich result, so milk is probably the best bet to
suit everybodys taste buds.
The only probable is quantities. Too much liquid results in it
bleeding from the eggs during
and after cooking, leaving puddles of eggy cream. The best
quantity for each egg is 1
tablespoon, maximum of liquid. But for me the perfect scrambled
egg is made with no
additional ingredients (apart from salt and pepper).
2 large eggs, per person
Salt and pepper
Put a good knob of butter in your saucepan and let it bubble
away, making sure it doesnt
reach a nut-brown stage. Put the eggs in a bowl, season and beat
well, and then add them
to the butter. Now just turn them with a wooden spoon, fairly
vigorously, capturing every
corner of the pan. Once they are just starting to set and have a
lumpy effect but are still
good and soft, remove the pan from the stove. The eggs are best
left slightly under- done, as
they always continue to cook, even once off the heat. The
scrambled eggs are now ready to
Grating of parmesan cheese
Sprinkle of dried/fresh chives
Slice of good quality ham
1. Separate the whites from the yolks
2. Whip the egg whites until they form stiff peaks and stir in
your grating of parmesan cheese (and chives and ham, if you
3. Scoop out a dollop of the fluffy eggs onto a baking sheet
covered in parchment paper.
4. Make a little well for the yolk, but don't put it in yet
first, bake the clouds for two minutes, then take them out and add
5. Bake for another three minutes. (But watch them carefully, no
one wants a crispy cloud egg!)
The perfect fried egg
1 fresh egg, at room temperature
1 tbsp butter
Salt and pepper
Crack the egg on to a saucer to make it easier to slide into the
pan. Heat the butter in a heavy-based
frying pan over a low heat, and find a slightly domed saucepan
lid, ideally slightly smaller than the
pan itself, so you can place it over the cooking eggs.
Once the butter has melted, but not begun to foam, swirl it
around the pan to coat, then slide in the
egg. If you're cooking more than one, be careful not to crowd
Cover and leave for 3 minutes, then check the white is cooked,
lift out, season gently, and serve
Then lets talk up half a dozen funky breakfast ideas.
Malt or white wine vinegar
Fill a saucepan with two thirds of water and a third of vinegar.
Salt should not be added because this
tends to break down the egg consistency. Bring the water and
vinegar mixture to the boil and stir.
Now crack one egg at a time into the centre of the liquid and
poach for 3-3.5 minutes. The eggs are
ready to serve, or they can be poached in advance and plunged
into iced water immediately.
Trim off any excess untidy whites to give you the perfect
poached egg. To re-heat, simply plunge into
boiling water for 1 minute.
The eggs are now hot and ready to serve.