This is really so much easier than you would think. I'm not much of a pie maker, and yet, I managed to pull this off without a hitch. There's many steps, but all are very easy. Unfortunately it's a little deviation, in fact a large deviation from my usual gluten free and dairy free options - it's got all the baddies in there, sorry. But my reasoning is that it's an adult's taste, and so we'll only have it when all the kids are in bed and unable to see us sneaking in the naughty stuff.
- shortcrust pastry (enough to line a flan tin. about 400g)
- 400ml milk
- 1 cinnamon quill
- pinch of saffron threads
- 8 cardamom pods (slightly crushed)
- 4 small eggs (separated)
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 1 1/3 cups whipping cream
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 1/4 cup shelled pistachios
- 4 digestive biscuits
- 1/4 cup soft brown sugar
- 2 tbsp butter
- coarse salt to taste
- pomegranate seeds (optional)
- Roll out the shortcrust pastry and place in a non-stick (or greased and floured) flan tin. Then cover with baking paper and beans/baking beads. Refrigerate.
- Put the milk, cinnamon, saffron and cardamom in a pot on the stove and bring slowly to the boil, then switch off immediately. Set aside to cool for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 200ºC.
- Take the flan out of the refrigerator and blind bake for 15 minutes, then reduce temperature to 180ºC and remove beads and paper and cook for a further 5-10 minutes while you complete the next step.
- Cream the egg yolks and caster sugar, then add the cornflour and finally the cooled milk (straining as you go), beating on the lowest speed.
- In a separate bowl, lightly whisk up the egg whites so they are fluffy and voluminous, but not quite to stiff peaks, then fold into other mixture. Pour into the flan, and cook at 180ºC for 20 minutes, or until top begins to brown.
- Turn down temperature to 110ºC, and cook for a further 20 minutes, or until the custard is firm (but still soft) in the middle. Put aside to cool.
- Crush the pistachios in a mortar and pestle (or a blender), then add the biscuits, sugar and salt to make a crumble. Toast lightly in a pan with butter until nicely combined and aromatic. Set aside to cool.
- Whip up the cream and cinnamon powder until thick, then spread over the tart, and follow with the nut crumble. Garnish with pomegranate seeds. Serve cold