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What can I say?? I just love to bake!! Ever since I would go to Grandma's house as a little girl and bake highlight cakes or help Ninny make her famous vanilla cookies, I've been obsessed with baking! Not only from recipe books, but freestyle too! With a father as a chef, i suppose it is in my genes! Some of my favourite memories from growing up were those moments after dinner when my dad would get his sweet tooth pang and have me help him whip up a batch of toffee fruit kebabs, or irish caramels! I used to love how he never followed recipes, he always just knew what ingredients worked with one another and how to play with quantities. So, from an early age, i had learnt from the master and i was well on my way to bake on my own! When i was 7 years old, i used to bake chocoloate cakes to sell to the mothers of my friends when they came to watch our Saturday morning minkey hockey games! Before i knew it, i was being commissioned from my school teachers to bake cakes for them at $2 a pop! This blog holds just a few of my favourite tried and tested recipes which I've thoroughly enjoyed both baking and eating! So enjoy!!

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Mini Custard Fruit Flans

When my mum recently told me she was hosting a ladies day charity afternoon tea and frock swap, and asked me to do the sweets side of things, I immediately thought 'Ooooo, afternoon tea petite fours!'  After much speculation, I decided on making; pink vanilla cupcakes, a varity of flavoured macaroons, bite sized chocolate terrines and my personal favourite.... mini custard fruit flans!  These little flans went down an absolute treat and were so much fun to make and put together.  The final product is well worth the effort!

Preparation Time:  30 mins (+1hour refigeration time)
Cooking Time: 12 mins
Serves: 24

 - 1 3/4 cup plain flour
 - 1/4 cup icing sugar
 - 185g cold butter, chopped coarsely
 - 1 egg yolk
 - 2 tsp iced water, approximately
 - 1 medium kiwi fruit
 - 60g strawberries
 - 60g blueberries
Custard Cream
 - 1 cup milk
  - 1 tsp vanilla extract
 - 3 egg yolks
 - 1/2 cup caster sugar
 - 2 tbs pure cornflour
 - 1/3 cup thickened cream, whipped

1) Process flour, sugar and butter until crumbly.  With motor operating, add egg yolk and enough of the water to make all the ingredients come together.  Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead gently until smooth.  Wrap pastry in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

2)  Grease a 24 hole mini muffin pan.  Roll out the pastry between two sheets of baking paper until 1/8 inch thick (it might be easier to do this in two batches).  Cut out 24 rounds using a round cutter big enough to fit your muffin holes (approximately 2 1/4inch rounds should do the trick).  Press rounds into each hole and prick the bases of the cases well with a fork.  Once all holes are filled with cases, refigerate for 30 minutes.

3)  Preheat oven to 200'C/400'F.

4)  Bake cases for about 12 minutes.  Stand cases in their tins for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

5)  Meanwhile, make the custard cream by combining the milk and extract in a small saucepan and bringing to the boil.  Beat the egg yolk, sugar and cornflour together in a seperate bowl with an electric mixer until thick.  With motor operating, gradually beat in the hot milk mixture.  Return the custrard to the pan, stirring over the heat until it boils and thickens.  Cover the surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.  Fold cream into the custard in 2 batches.

6)  Cut the kiwi fruit in quarters and strawberries in 8ths.

7)  Divide the custard cream into pastry cases and top with fruit.

**Tip:  Pastry cases and custard cream can be made and stored seperately 2 days ahead.  Fold the cream into custard just before using.  Assemble and serve flans as close to serving time as possible - about an hour is good.

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