Brioche Custard Tarts

Brioche Custard Tarts

Photography by Joann Pai

Shane’s rich, fluffy take on brioche tarts are made all the better with fine Irish dairy and fresh local produce. For more an intimate look at Shane’s home and his baking career, check out our blog post, In the Kitchen with Shane Smith

Brioche Custard Tarts

  • ½ cup (120 grams) warm whole milk (110°F/43°C to 115°F/46°C)
  • 3¼ teaspoons (10 grams) instant yeast
  • 3¼ cups (406 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons (36 grams) castor/superfine sugar
  • 2¼ teaspoons (6 grams) kosher salt, divided
  • 5 medium eggs (235 grams), room temperature and divided
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons (198 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) whole milk
  • Vanilla Custard (recipe follows)
  • Rhubarb Filling (recipe follows, see Note)
  • ⅔ cup (213 grams) warm orange marmalade
  • ½ cup (100 grams) Swedish pearl sugar
  1. In a small bowl, stir together warm milk and yeast. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine flour, castor sugar, and 2 teaspoons (6 grams) salt. Add yeast mixture and 4 eggs (188 grams), and beat at medium speed until a dough forms, about 5 minutes. Gradually add butter, 1 tablespoon (14 grams) at a time, beating until combined and smooth after each addition, 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  4. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  5. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and divide into 12 portions (about 73 grams each). Shape each portion into a smooth ball, and place 2 inches apart on prepared pans. Using the palm of your hand, flatten dough balls into 4-inch disks. Using your index finger, press down in center of each disk to create a 1-inch indentation. Cover with a kitchen towel, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, 1½ to 2 hours.
  6. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
  7. In a small bowl, whisk together milk, remaining 1 egg (47 grams), and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Brush egg wash onto dough. Spoon Vanilla Custard into center of each dough circle; top with 4 pieces of Rhubarb Filling.
  8. Bake until brioche is golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks. Before serving, brush with warm marmalade, and sprinkle with pearl sugar.

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Vanilla Custard

  • 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon (495 grams) whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla extract
  • 6 medium egg yolks (102 grams)
  • ⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon (79 grams) castor/superfine sugar
  • 2½ tablespoons (20 grams) cornstarch
  • 2½ tablespoons (20 grams) all-purpose flour
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat milk and vanilla over medium heat until steaming. (Do not boil.) Set aside to infuse, about 5 minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, castor sugar, cornstarch, and flour. Slowly add warm milk mixture to egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean saucepan, and cook over medium-low heat until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Transfer to a medium bowl, and cover with a piece of plastic wrap, pressing wrap directly onto surface of custard to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until completely cool. Custard can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

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Rhubarb Filling

  • ⅓ cup plus 1½ tablespoons (102.5 grams) water
  • 1½ tablespoons (7.5 grams) firmly packed orange zest (from 1 orange)
  • ¼ cup (60 grams) fresh orange juice (from 1 orange)
  • 1 tablespoon (12 grams) castor/superfine sugar
  • 5 rhubarb stalks (255 grams), cut into 2-inch pieces
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together ⅓ cup plus 1½ tablespoons (102.5 grams) water, orange zest and juice, and castor sugar. Add rhubarb, tossing to combine. Pour onto a rimmed baking sheet, and cover with foil.
  3. Bake for 8 minutes. Using a sharp paring knife, test rhubarb until it cuts easily but still holds its shape. If not ready, cover and bake for 3 to 4 minutes more, and test again. Let cool completely before using.
Rhubarb Filling can be substituted with 24 medium fresh strawberries (288 grams). Stem and halve each strawberry, and place 4 halves in center of each tart.

Be careful not to overcook the rhubarb. You want the pieces to retain their shape because they will be cooked again when baking the brioche.

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