Episode: The Great Divide
Egg Custard Tart
Avatar: The Last Airbender came into my life at the most opportune moment. My TV watching days and school life were both changing so drastically, that it was getting harder to find things to watch and even harder to find the time to watch them. I was busier than ever and didn’t have too much to look forward to except doing piles of homework. Then came Avatar. It’s so beautiful and different that I immediately fell in love with it. To me, it was so much more than just a cartoon and I was on pins and needles waiting for each new episode.
There are so many strange and wonderful places, people, and animals in the Avatar universe. And let’s not forget food! Out of all the tasty treats, the one that caught my attention as much as Aang’s is an egg custard tart. He was all goo-goo eyes for it because he hadn’t eaten since before he stepped into the Great Divide. Plus, I hear he has quite the weakness for these tarts. So do I.
Recipe makes one deep 8-inch tart or about two regular 9-inch tarts.
1 ¾ cups cake flour
1 cup powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) butter, cold and cut into chunks
1 large egg
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
6 large eggs, room temperature, beaten
1 cup half-&-half, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
In a food processor, pulse cake flour, powdered sugar, and salt until combined. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the egg and pulse until dough just comes together when pressed. If the dough is too dry, add ice water, 1 teaspoon at a time, and pulse again. Form dough into a disk and cover in plastic wrap. Let dough chill until firm, 30 minutes to an hour.
Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan and heat until the sugar completely dissolves. Let sugar water cool to room temperature. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, half-&-half, sugar water, and vanilla. Strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer.
Putting It All Together:
Unwrap dough and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll out dough anywhere from 10 to 14 inches across and place in a 1.5 quart, round casserole dish. Gently press dough into place. Trim excess dough or fold it back on itself. Chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Pour filling into crust. I sent it through the strainer once more to ensure no chunks or bubbles appeared on the surface of the tart. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake for 1-1 ½ hours, or until skewer inserted in it comes out clean. If the edges of the crust darken too quickly, cover them with foil. Remove tart from oven and cool on a wire rack for 2 hours. Remove from dish and serve or just dig in!
So I had a little mishap when I went to remove my tart from its dish, so it’s not as pretty as it was when it came out of the oven. But someone in the Zhang tribe managed to carry an egg custard tart for an entire day throughout the largest canyon in the world and it stayed perfect. Tarts don’t really travel well, so I’d say in all actuality, my tart doesn’t look too far off from what it should be.
It’s funny, but I feel a bit like the Avatar when I’m in my kitchen. I have to master all four elements (I still need some work on my airbending.) to bring together ingredients from different backgrounds to create something grand. Although I’m not ready to take on the world just yet, I believe I can bring peace to my pantry.
Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!