Open shortcrust base filled with set custard, usually topped with a slight sprinkle of nutmeg, baked.
Originally the word 'custard' necessarily indicated a kind of open pie, being derived from the same root as 'crust'. Earlier versions contained meat or fruit covered with a preparation of broth or milk, thickened with eggs, sweetened, and spiced.
Original Receipt from Mrs.B
FANCHONNETTES, or CUSTARD TARTLETS.
1315. INGREDIENTS. - For the custard, 4 eggs, ¾ pint of milk, 2 oz. of butter, 2 oz. of pounded sugar, 3 dessertspoonfuls of flour, flavouring to taste; the whites of 2 eggs, 2 oz. of pounded sugar.
Mode. - Well beat the eggs; stir to them the milk, the butter, which should be beaten to a cream, the sugar, and flour; mix these ingredients well together, put them into a very clean saucepan, and bring them to the simmering point, but do not allow them to boil. Flavour with essence of vanilla, bitter almonds, lemon, grated chocolate, or any flavouring ingredient that may be preferred. Line some round tartlet-pans with good puff-paste; fill them with the custard, and bake in a moderate oven for about 20 minutes; then take them out of the pans; let them cool, and in the mean time whisk the whites of the eggs to a stiff froth; stir into this the pounded sugar, and spread smoothly over the tartlets a little of this mixture. Put them in the oven again to set the icing, but be particular that they do not scorch: when the icing looks crisp, they are done. Arrange them, piled high in the centre, on a white napkin, and garnish the dish, and in between the tartlets, with strips of bright jelly, or very firmly-made preserve.
Time. - 20 minutes to bake the tartlets; 5 minutes after being iced.
Average cost, exclusive of the paste, 1s.
Sufficient to fill 10 or 12 tartlets.
Seasonable at any time.
Note. - The icing may be omitted on the top of the tartlets, and a spoonful of any kind of preserve put at the bottom of the custard instead: this varies both the flavour and appearance of this dish.
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