As I have told you many times before, I grew up in a pastry shop and I am not exaggerating one bit when I say it was the most wonderful way to grow up. It really was. We lived about 50 meters across the street from the shop and my grandparents lived just above it. Often times, we would go out on the balcony and could have an entire conversation with my amama Miren who spent time observing the street out her window. And she liked to chat, a lot.
I describe those smells often as they are engraved in my head. Milk simmering, cinnamon, vanilla, sugar, lemon peel, the smell of butter being rolled into puff pastry everyday. It really was an idyllic childhood.
Pastel de arroz was always my favorite tart. Crispy and flaky puff pastry encasing a wonderful baked custard that smelled of cinnamon, vanilla and lemon peel. On Sundays, they would make suspiros which were the pastel the arroz topped with a dome of air-like chiboust slightly caramelized. Need I say more. I am not sure where the name pastel de arroz (rice tart) came from as this recipe contains no rice at all. I will have to look into that, but this is one of the most traditional tarts in the Basque Country. So simple.
Last time my parents visited, my mom brought for me these old tart molds that belonged to my grandfather. They must be at least 50 years old and I think they are one of my most treasured belongings. They really show their usage as the inside still feels slightly greased. So much history.
On another note, I wanted to share with you that Saveur Magazine has nominated Cannelle Et Vanille for “Best Food Photography” in a blog in their first ever Food Blog Awards. I am so honored to be nominated amongst such great people. You can vote and view the rest of categories and nominees here.
The traditional recipe uses puff pastry, but I baked the tarts in a gluten free pie dough. Enjoy!
Gluten Free Pate Brisee
makes 8 3″x1″ tart molds
85 grams sweet rice flour
35 grams quinoa flour
30 grams amaranth flour
25 grams tapioca starch
20 grams sugar
3 grams salt
2 grams xanthan gum
115 grams butter, cold and cut into small dice
60-80 grams ice cold water
Place the flours, sugar, salt and xanthan gum in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a couple of times to air ingredients. Add the cold diced butter and pulse about 10 times. Add the ice cold water and pulse until flours are wet but do not over mix it (it doesn’t have to form a ball). Start with 60 gram of water and add more if needed.
Transfer dough into your work surface and press it together. Wrap it in plastic wrap and flatten it into a disk. Refrigerate for at least two hours.
Roll the pastry with a rolling pin to about 1/8-1/16″ thickness. Use some of the flours so the dough doesn’t stick to your work surface. You can also roll it between two sheets of parchment paper. Must work quickly.
Cut circles of dough and fill the tart molds. Cut the top edges. Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours. In the meantime, make the custard and let it cool completely.
Pastel de Arroz Custard
250 ml whole milk
60 grams butter
Zest of half a lemon
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 vanilla bean
60 grams cornstarch
55 grams sugar
1 egg yolk
Place milk, butter, lemon zest, cinnamon and vanilla in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil. Turn the heat off and let it steep for 10 min.
Whisk the sugar and cornstarch into a bowl. Add the eggs and whisk them until a smooth paste forms. Temper the warm liquid into the egg base while whisking. Strain this custard through a sieve and let it col completely before filling the tarts.
Preheat the oven to 425F for about 15 minutes before using. Have your rack positioned in the lower middle part of the oven.
Fill the tart molds with the cooled custard (about 3/4 full). Bake the tarts at 425F for about 15-20 minutes or until top is golden brown and crust completely baked. It will puff up slightly and then sink in the middle.