Vietnamese-Australian chef and TV host Luke Nguyen's new cookbook, The Food Of Vietnam, is an impressive, thick tome of first-hand tales and history, and of course, beautifully photographed dishes. All your favorite Vietnamese food lies within, plus a few extras you never saw coming (unless of course you're from Vietnam). But you really need to know how to make this silky yet strong coffee tart sprinkled with fresh pomegranate seeds.
- 6 ounces all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 3 1/2 ounces chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 1/2 tablespoons superfine sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon cold water
- 1 pomegranate
Vietnamese coffee curd
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/2 ounces superfine sugar
- 2 teaspoons agar agar
- 1 1/ 2 fluid ounces freshly brewed Vietnamese coffee or strong espresso coffee
- 3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
- Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Rub in the butter using your fingertips until the mixture has an even sandy texture. Make a well in the centre, then add the sugar, lemon juice and cold water. Lightly mix to form a smooth paste, taking care not to overwork the pastry, so it doesn’t shrink during cooking, and adding just a little more cold water if needed to bring it together.
- Shape the pastry into a round disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Divide the pastry into six equal portions. Working quickly, roll each pastry portion out separately to about 1/8 inch thick. Cut out six 4 1/ 4 inch diameter discs using a round pastry cutter.
- Ease the pastry discs into six greased 3 1/ 4 inch tart tins, taking care not to stretch the pastry. Cover the pastry with sheets of foil and weigh the foil down evenly using baking beads or uncooked rice. Rest for 20 minutes in the refrigerator.
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Bake the tart shells for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and baking beads. Turn the oven down to 340ºF and bake for a further 10–15 minutes, or until the pastry is an even golden brown colour. Remove the tart shells from the tins and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- To make the coffee curd, beat the eggs in a stainless steel mixing bowl. Add the sugar and beat until the sugar has dissolved. Sprinkle the agar agar into the mixture and whisk again to incorporate. Stir in the coffee and condensed milk.
- Place the bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water, ensuring the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Continue whisking until the mixture thickens, scraping down the side of the bowl with a spatula occasionally so it doesn’t become grainy. Pour into a chilled container to cool, placing some plastic wrap directly on top of the curd to prevent a skin forming.
- When the curd is completely cool, pipe it into the cooled tart shells.
- Cut the pomegranate in half. Over a bowl, tap the pomegranate with the back of a spoon to release the seeds. Spoon the seeds over the tarts and serve.
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