Roasted peaches with flaxseed meal crumble


I love it that stone fruits are in season. Peaches, apricots, cherries are some of my favourite fruits.

Sadly, our climate in Singapore is unsuitable for growing these stone fruits or I would have a field day picking them. My sister was just in Japan a few weeks ago; she and her girlfriends went momo (peach) picking. Well, I wish that were me but I guess I would have to make do with these peaches.

Sometimes, you may end up with peaches that are not that sweet because they are picked before they are fully ripened. Apart from leaving them in room temperature for a day or two to allow them to become softer and juicier, the best way to bring out their sweetness is by roasting or grilling.

roasted peaches

donut peaches roasted 2


I have to share this simple recipe with you for a fuss-free and delicious dessert. I have already made this twice in the same weekend because warmed fruit and crumble is so hard to resist.

I would recommend getting donut peaches (see photo below)  if you can; they look like flattened peaches but they are almost always sweeter than your regular peaches. If you only have regular peaches, fret not – a drizzle of maple syrup would do the trick.


I like to use pure maple syrup either Grade A (dark amber) or Grade B (Amber) for my baking and my cocktails because they have a more robust, darker caramel flavour than the lighter varieties.



This is also not quite your usual crumble. I happen to have mace root powder and flaxseed meal on hand so I added it in and it gave the crumble a distinctive nutty flavour that pairs very well with the roasted peaches. But perhaps, you can replace some flour with some ground almond or hazelnut for a similar effect.

The beauty of this dish is that it doesn’t require much of a recipe – it’s the kind of dish that J likes. He doesn’t like baking because he doesn’t like to follow recipes and measurements to a T. This is probably the kind of dessert that he will put together.

Roasted peach crumble

Recipe: Roasted peaches with maple syrup and rosemary with a crumble

To call this a recipe is a misnomer. This is a guide and some advice on how I do this. When I’m making a crumble, I don’t use a recipe but go by proportions. This is the recipe you can easily do when you are in your vacation home without a weighing scale.

Ingredients for the roasted peaches:
12 peaches, halved and pitted
drizzle of pure maple syrup
tiny knobs of butter on each of the peach slices
fresh rosemary and thyme
pinch of sea salt

1.Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celcius. Place peaches on a ceramic tray or equivalent. Add in tiny knobs of butter onto each of the peach slices and drizzle maple syrup all over the peaches. The amount of maple syrup you use depends on how sweet the peaches are and of course, your preference. Sprinkle a pinch salt over the peaches and add in the fresh herbs.
2. Roast in your oven (high rack, near to heat source) for about 25 to 30 minutes until just tender but not falling apart.

Ingredients for the crumble:
1 part unsalted butter, cubed
1 part flour (I substituted some of it with flaxseed meal and mace root powder)
3/4 part sugar (I usually use half brown sugar and half granulated sugar)
pinch of salt
a dash of vanilla extract
Some rolled oats/chopped nuts (optional)

1. Rub in method: Rub the cubed butter into dry ingredient until large crumbs are form. The size of the crumbs depends on how large you like your crumble bits to be.
2. Spread it onto a parchment-lined tray and bake for about 12 – 15 minutes until golden brown.

To serve: Simple spoon your crumble mix over your roasted peaches. I like to drizzle a good aged balsamic vinegar before serving.

donut peaches roasted with crumble




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Dark chocolate and lavender madeleines

Chocolate and lavender madeleines coverI’ve always loved lavender in food. I think it doesn’t get used quite enough. If you have been following my blog, you would probably realise that lavender makes its appearance from time to time.

One of my all time favourite combinations for lavender is chocolate and lavender. I bake this Chocolate and lavender tart. I used to think only milk chocolate works well with lavender, but now, I embrace both milk and dark chocolate with  lavender depending on my mood or what I have in my kitchen.


I don’t know why I decided to make chocolate and lavender madeleines. It wasn’t planned. I think it started off with “hey, maybe I should make chocolate madelelines and pipe some chocolate ganache in the centers. How come I never thought of doing that?” to “oh yes, I almost forgot that I have lavender”. The rest, as they say, is history.

I’m so pleased with how they turned out. I wonder why we don’t see a combination of chocolate and lavender madeleines more often because these are simply incredible – gobsmackingly delicious.

I always thought madeleines should be eaten fresh out of the oven and I find that they aren’t quite as good when left overnight. Now, I have Dominique Ansel’s (the pastry chef of the Cronut fame)  backing on this. He serves up made-to-order madeleines in his bakery in New York because he believes madeleines should be made and eaten straight away. Think warm and fluffy little tea cakes – what’s not to love?

You can make these madelelines quite easily but you need to plan ahead. I make the batter and keep it in the fridge overnight before baking them – this resting period is absolutely crucial for its distinctive bump.

Piping them with a chocolate lavender ganache brings this simple afternoon tea cake to the next level. Dessert, anyone? Imagine that oozy, luscious chocolate flowing out its center just as you bite into it! I can’t think of many more things that are better than that!



Dark chocolate and lavender madeleines

Makes 24 – 28 regular sized madeleines
Adapted from The Ethnic Paris Cookbook by Charlotte Puckette and Olivia Kiang-Snaije

The recipe can be halved but I prefer making more and keeping the leftover batter in the fridge to be baked on a rainy day where warm madeleines would be very welcomed. It is important to have the eggs at room temperature before baking so they can be whisked to their full volume. The melted butter should be added in when it is cooled and not hot (to prevent the batter from deflating too much).

I bake them – one in stainless steel tray and another in a non-stick metal one. The stainless steel tray gives you the best result (a more distinct hump, even colour).

230g unsalted butter
1 tsp culinary grade lavender
240g eggs (About 4 large eggs), room temperature
160g granulated sugar
2 tbsp honey
170g plain flour
60g Dutch-processed cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

1. Chop up butter into cubes before melting it over low heat. When the butter is melted, add the tsp of lavender. Set it aside to infuse and cool before using (about 20 mins).
2. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and whisk to mix thoroughly.
3. Place the room temperature eggs in a mixer bowl and whisk at medium speed for about 30 seconds.
4. Add in sugar and honey to the eggs and whisk on medium-high speed for about 5-8 minutes until pale, thick. The batter should be at ribbon stage. It is important not to underbeat at this stage.
5. Add in the sifted ingredients in three additions – using a paddle attachment, beat at low speed until just incorporated.
6. Gradually pour in the melted and cooled butter while the mixer is still running. Do not pour all at once if not it will be difficult to incorporate the large amount of butter into the batter. Mix until well-incorporated.
7. Cling wrap the bowl and refrigerate the batter for at least 3 hours or overnight. The batter could be kept in the fridge for up to a few days.
8. Butter (you can brush on with melted butter) your madeleine trays generously especially around the crevices and place the tray(s) in the freezer.
9. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius. Take out the madeleine moulds from the freezer and dust flour over the moulds, inverting the trays to tap our any excess flour.
10. Fill a piping bag and pipe each cavity to about 3/4 full. Since the batter is cold (right out from the fridge), these took about 15 minutes to bake. If you are baking them on the same day of making the batter, they may take a shorter time (check at 10 minutes). The madeleines should be well-risen, with its distinctive hump.
11. Invert the madeleines onto a wire rack. They should come out easily if you have done a good job at buttering the trays. Best served immediately, dusted with icing sugar, while still warm. Pipe the ganache at this stage, if using.

Dark chocolate and lavender ganache

100g 66% chocolate couverture
150g double cream
1/2 tsp honey
1 tsp culinary grade lavender

1. Chop up the chocolate couverture into small bites. Set aside.
2. Heat double cream in a pot with lavender until it is warm to touch, or 45 degrees celcius if using a thermometer. Set aside to allow the lavender to infuse for about 20 mins.
3. Bring the infused cream up to a boil with the honey. Pour over chopped chocolate and stir until well- incoporated.
4. Cling wrap the chocolate ganache with the clingwrap touching the ganache so that a skin doesn’t form. Keep it in the refrigerater until cool.
5. Take out the ganache and whisk until pipable consistency (still hold its form).
6. Using a piping bag and a round nozzle, pipe the ganache into the center of the warm madeleines. Serve immediately.

*Storage tip: These madeleines are best eaten immediately. If you really have to, store them in an air-tight container and finish them within a day or two.

madeleines on tray

Chocolate madeleines

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Chocolate and banana birthday cake

chocolate and banana cake 3


I’m usually the one in charge of baking the birthday cakes in my house. While I prefer to have a free reign over the cakes I choose to bake, I would get them to pick a flavour.

It’s interesting to see what everyone would pick but after a few years, you will begin to see a trend. My best friend would usually pick a tart, my mum would like something citrusy or with fruits. J would let me bake whatever I feel like because he claims that he loves everything that I bake. My sister and dad would unequivocally pick a chocolate cake.

While I love chocolate very much, I find it just a little boring to be baking chocolate cake every year. I can imagine all eyes and hands (maybe?) of chocolate fiends on me as I say that. Few will ever call chocolate “boring”.

This year, my sister’s brief to me was chocolate and banana or rather she told me that she really liked this cake that I put together pretty recently. So I’m off to bake this cake once again. It is indeed good, the only difference was that I made honeycomb to top this off just for a bit of fun.

This cake is made up of  four layers of chocolate sponge in this cake – light sponge with a good flavour of chocolate, layered with a rich and velvety layer of dark chocolate ganache spiked with rum, and sliced bananas. You can leave out the rum if you wish but why? Rum, chocolate and bananas are so perfect together. The bananas cuts through the richness of the chocolate cake and ganache, making it easy to eat a big slice or two of it in a seating.





chocolate and banana cake 1


Coincidentally, her friends bought her a chocolate and banana cake too! From this, you can probably infer that her love for chocolate and banana is so great that everyone knows about it. While she had two chocolate and banana cakes in one day, she told me that she liked mine better because mine had more chocolate. The cake her friends bought was a chocolate swiss roll filled with chantilly cream and fresh bananas.

So here’s the chocolate and banana cake recipe for your chocolate loving friends, my dad told me he loves this cake a lot and he wants something similar for his birthday.

I can’t say I’m surprised.

If anyone has any suggestions for a chocolate cake (preferably with chocolate sponge layers), please send them my way.




Dark chocolate and banana layer cake
Makes a four layer 6-inch cake
Chocolate sponge recipe adapted from Epicurious

Ingredients for the chocolate cake: (Bakes in two 6-inch round tins)

30g dark chocolate
130g coffee
165g granulated sugar
100g flour
70g cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
66g egg or 1 large egg
130ml buttermilk
65ml canola oil or any neutral flavoured oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp brandy/rum

1. Prepare cake layers:Preheat oven to 150 deg cel/300°F. Prepare tins by lining the base with parchment paper and greasing the sides of the tins. I used two 6 inch round cake tins.

2. Finely chop the dark chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot coffee. Stir to unsure that the chocolate is completely melted and mixture is uniform.
3. Beat eggs in an electric mixer or with a whisk lightly before adding in the sugar and beat until the eggs are pale and slightly thickened. Add in the wet ingredients ( melted chocolate mixture, buttermilk and oil) – beat until well incorporated.
3. Add in the sifted dry ingredients (flour, baking, soda, cocoa powder, salt) in a few additions and mix until just combined.
4. Divide the batter between the two pans evenly and bake in the preheated oven for about 1 hr, until the cakes spring back upon touch.
5. Allow the cakes to cool slightly in the tins for about 10 minutes before running a palette knife along the edges of the tin and inverting the cake onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
6. Trim off the top slightly if it is slightly domed. Then, using a serrated knife, divide the cakes into two even portions so you will have 4 cake layers.

Cool layers completely in pans on racks. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks. Carefully remove wax paper and cool layers completely. Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature.

Dark chocolate ganache frosting


330g dark chocolate ( I used 66% dark chocolate couverture)
190 ml double cream
1 tbsp corn syrup (optional, for a glossy finish)
1 tbsp rum
30g butter

1. Finely chop chocolate.
2. Heat cream and corn syrup in a pot to a boil.
3. Take it off the heat then pour it over your chopped chocolate and butter. Add in the rum and stir with a spatula until well-incorporated.

Rum simple syrup

100g sugar
100ml water
1 tbsp rum

1. Heat sugar and water in a pot, stirring occasionally until sugar is completely dissolved. Bring the sugar syrup to a boil.
2. Take it off heat and stir in the rum. Use immediately.

To assemble the cake:

2-3 large and firm bananas, sliced thinly and evenly (into rounds)
fleur de sel, optional


1. Place first layer of sponge cake onto a cake board. Secure the cake with a small spoonful of chocolate ganache. This will prevent the cake from slipping when you move it around later. Use a pastry brush to brush on the rum syrup and allow the sponge to soak up the syrup before you continue.
2. Scoop up a dollop of chocolate ganache and spread it evenly onto the first layer of cake with a palette knife.
3. Arrange the banana slices on top of the chocolate ganache and try to cover the entire cake with the banana slices. Repeat step 1 – 3 for the other 3 layers of cake. After you have placed the final layer of cake on, spread a thin layer of ganache over it and over the sides of the cake. Crumb coat it first and refrigerate until firm before you continue to frost the cake with the remainder chocolate ganache until the cake is smooth and even.

4. Decorate with honeycomb (recipe found on this link. You can half the recipe and still have leftovers) , caramelised nuts (recipe found here) or just leave it plain. Sprinkle the top of the cake with some fleur de sel.

chocolate and banana cake 2

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Pandan swiss roll with gula melaka chantilly cream


I don’t bake or cook with pandan leaves nearly as much as I should be doing. There’s no excuse for that; I have an overgrown pandan plant right at my doorstep.

Pandan leaves are essential to making a good pandan coconut (nasi lemak) rice that taste so incredible with chicken or beef rendang, some fried ikan bilis with peanuts and a good sambal belachan. Nasi lemak is what I miss and crave when I’m away from home.

The one thing that I use the pandan leaves exclusively for is my pandan chiffon cake recipe.  It is a perennial favourite in my family and probably the only pandan dessert that I make frequently.


I decided on making this swiss roll mainly because of a overgrown pandan plant and some leftover dessicated coconut that I bought to make my rendang.  It turned out to be a pretty good idea.

I adapted my go-to recipe for swiss rolls for this – replacing milk with coconut milk,  and some flour with cornflour.

I thought this pandan swiss roll would benefit from a gula melaka chantilly cream, making it  Southeast Asian dessert through and through.

While I wasn’t a hundred percent certain of how this swiss roll would turn out, I was definitely a hundred percent happy with the way it turned out.

The swiss roll maintained its soft and fluffy texture with an unmistakable fragrance of pandan and coconut milk, the toasted dessicated coconut added both a nice bite and it reinforced the coconut flavour in the cake, the caramel, molasses-like flavour of the gula melaka tinting the cream just a little completed the cake.

You can be assured that I have mentally saved this recipe in my “to bake again soon” list. I can foresee that this little swiss roll of mine is going to be one that I would want to have again and again.

pandan gula melaka swiss roll pandan swiss roll ingredients


Pandan swiss roll with gula melaka chantilly cream
Recipe adapted from Okashi by Keiko Ishida
Makes 1 souffle swiss roll

You can refer to my previous posts on raspberry and white chocolate swiss roll  for tips on making swiss rolls in general. I’ve also made a matcha and azuki bean swiss roll  that is very delicious.

This swiss roll pays homage to Singapore/ Southeast Asian flavours – pandan, dessicated coconut and gula melaka – the flavours of my childhood.

Group A:
1 whole egg
3 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
7-8 pandan leaves
1 – 2 tbsp water
green food colouring/pandan paste (optional, for a deeper green)

Group B:
35g unsalted butter
50g plain flour, sifted
10g cornflour, sifted
50ml coconut milk
10ml full cream milk

Group C:
3 egg whites
85g caster sugar

1. Preheat oven 180 degrees celcius. Line a 11″ square cake pan (28cm x 28cm) with baking parchment. If you do not have a pan this size, use a larger tray,and place some oven safe loaf pans to block out the area you do not want to use. Use an aluminium foil to keep to the two parts separated. It is important to bake the sponge cake in the correct size pan.

2. Prepare the pandan juice: wash the leave and cut them into 2-3 inch length. Blend them with a little water. Then using a fine mesh/sieve, press down the pandan juice. Discard the blended leaves. Add the pandan juice to the rest of the ingredients and whisk together until well-combined.

3. Group b ingredients: Sift the flour and cornflour twice. Place unsalted butter in a small saucepan and heat gently until melted. Then add sifted flours to melted butter and use a wooden spoon or spatula to stir it until it is cooked through (just like a roux). It should come away from the sides of the pot and form a ‘dough’. Transfer the flour and butter mixture into a mixing bowl. Then add group A ingredients gradually, whisking to combine until you get smooth batter.

4. Next, add the coconut milk and full cream milk, a little at a time, stir to incorporate.

5. Using a sieve, strain the above batter to remove any lumps, and set aside.

6. Prepare a meringue with Group C ingredients: Whisk egg whites in a grease-free bowl until soft peaks.Gradually add in the sugar and whisk at high speed until stiff peaks.

7. Add in a scoop of the meringue into the already strained batter and whisk. Then add in the remaining meringue in 2-3 additions and fold gently with a spatula until mixture is just incorporated.

8. Pour batter gently onto the prepared pan and spread evenly with a small palette knife. Bake for about 20 minutes until it springs back to touch. The top should be golden brown.

9. When the souffle sponge is out of the oven, cover the pan with cling wrap immediately. You want to cover it when it is still hot so the steam will keep the cake moist and pliable, making it easy to roll without cracking.

10. Allow the sponge to cool down entirely before assembling it.

Gula Melaka creme chantilly

160ml cream, at least 35% fat
30g gula melaka*, shaved if using blocks
1 tsp vanilla extract

*Gula Melaka is a type of palm sugar mostly used in Southeast Asia. It comes from the sap of coconut palm trees. It has a strong caramel flavour and it is similar to the molasses though richer and more intense. You can buy them in cylinder blocks or you can also find them in granulated form

1. Melt the shaved gula melaka over low heat until it has completely dissolved into a syrup. Leave it to cool completely before whisking the cream in a grease-free bowl at high speed and slowly add in the gula melaka syrup in a stream and vanilla extract when it is starting to achieve soft peaks. Whisk at high speed until firm peaks.

To assemble:

20g dessicated coconut, toasted and cooled (optional)

gula melaka creme chantilly


1. Turn out the cooled sponge (it should be cooled completely, so it doesn’t crack) onto a new piece of baking parchment. Trim the sides with a small serrate knife to neaten it. Alternatively, you can trim this after.
2. Spread the whipped cream onto the sponge using a palette knife, leaving a small margin along all four sides.

3. Top with toasted dessicated coconut. Gently roll the sponge up but try to do it quite tightly so there won’t be gaps in between the sponge and creme chantilly. The sponge is pliable and soft so it should be pretty easy to do so. You can use the parchment paper to help you. Trim the two ends of the swiss roll (then enjoy eating the trimmings).  Slice the swiss roll before serving.

*Storage tip: Keep the swiss roll in the fridge.  Slice them just before serving. You should try to finish this in a few days.


pandan swiss roll

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Normandy apple tarts (Tarte aux pommes a la Normande)

Here’s my Normandy apple tarts recipe as promised. I had been wanting to make these for ages after returning from my trip to Normandy where apples pastries and desserts existed in all forms. Well, if you have a bountiful of apples, why not make pastry.

There were so many apple desserts that I enjoyed, in particular,  the chaussons aux pommes (apple turnovers) and tarte aux pommes a la Normande. I thought I’ll have my go at least one of the two. I wasn’t about to make a puff pastry in the insane weather in Singapore, so the tarte aux pommes was a natural choice.

While some recipes opt for a frangipane filling instead of a custard, the ones that I had in Normandy  were filled with custard so that was what I chose to use. Since the custard and apples are sweet enough, a buttery and flaky shortcrust pastry would be a perfect base to complement the two.

You can taste the calvados running through the tart – subtle but definitely has its presence felt. You don’t have to use aged calvados for this – the purists would probably have something to say about that. Also, if you don’t have calvados, don’t fret. These tarts would still taste amazing with the replacement of brandy or even rum.

Bake the custard until they are just set. You would be able to tell when you pull them out – don’t wait for them to boil and bubble.

Lastly, serve them immediately after they are cooled or better yet, when they are still slightly warm. Give them a light dusting of icing sugar and you have yourself a lovely pick me up.


Recipe: Normandy apple tarts (Tarte aux pommes a la Normande)
Makes about 8-10 tarlets (8cm” tart rings or similar)

These tarts don’t look like much but they taste really delicious. They showcase the best of apples through lacing the apples with calvados, an apple brandy and baking the apples till they are soft and caramelised on the edges. The buttery and flaky pastry just works perfectly with the apples and soft-set custard.

For the shortcrust pastry (the shortcrust recipe makes twice the amount you need for this recipe. You can freeze the remaining for other use for up t o a month):
250g plain flour
pinch of salt
1 tsp sugar
150g unsalted butter, cubed
1 large egg, room temp
1-2 tsp iced cold water

For the apple filling:
3-4apples* (I use a mixture of royal gala apples and granny smiths)
juice from half a lemon
1 tsp calvados** (apple brandy)
3-4 tsp granulated sugar
15g butter, room temperature
a few tsp of ground almonds/almond meal, optional

For the custard:
1 large egg
85g double cream
40g granulated sugar
1 tsp calvados
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
a few additional tsp of granulated sugar for dusting over the apples

To serve:
icing sugar/confectioner’s sugar, optional
vanilla ice cream, optional

*Apples: Use apples that would hold their shape while baking. I like to use a mixture of sweet and tart apples. For other good varieties to use, refer to this article “Best apples for baking – the Kitchn” that I found very useful.

*Calvados is an apple brandy made in Normandy. If you don’t have it, you can replace it with brandy. Or even rum.

1. Prepare the pastry: Whisk together dry ingredients. Add in cubed butter. Using your finger-tips, rub butter into the the dry ingredients. Alternatively, you can use a food processor and pulse it (a couple of seconds each time), until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
2. Add in the egg and add in as much iced cold water as you need – Stop adding as soon as the dough comes together. It should be smooth and well combined. Divide the dough into two equal portions. Flatten the dough into a flat disc and cling wrap them. Refrigerate the dough for at least half an hour. You can do this step a day before. You can save the other half of the dough in the freezer for other use.
3. Roll out the dough to about 3mm thickness, cut them into circles using a large cookie cutter that is bigger than your tart molds. Tuck the dough neatly into the tart molds and trim off excess with a knife. Allow the tart bases to rest in the fridge while you work on the other components.

4. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius (440 deg F) as well as your oven tray.

5. Prepare the apple filling: Core the apples and slice them thinly. I like to leave the skins of the apple on as they give a nice visual effect especially if you are using a mixture of red and green apples. Combine them with the lemon juice first to prevent oxidation. Then add in the granulated sugar, calvados.

6. Prick the tart bases with a fork and add in a spoonful of ground almonds to the tart base before lining the apples neatly in the tart. Dot the apples with the butter. You don’t have to be too precise but try to add the butters in pinches evenly around the tarts. Place the tarts onto the hot oven tray and into the oven and bake them for 10 minutes at 220 deg Celsius (440 deg F). Lower the oven temperature to 200 deg Celsius (400 deg F) and bake for another 20 minutes. The pastry should be well baked (golden-brown, no soggy bottoms!) and the apples should be soft, cooked and have caramelised edges.

7. For the custard: Whisk together the egg, cream, sugar and calvados until well-incorporated. Pour into a jug. When the pastry is nice and golden-brown, pour the custard into each of the tarts. Be careful not to overfill. Dust a additional few tsps of granulated sugar over the apples and put the tarts back into the oven. I also added a few rum soaked raisins at this stage since I had them. Bake for an additional 10- 12  minutes or until the custard is set.
8. Allow the tarts to cool slightly for about 10 to 15 minutes removing them from the molds. Serve immediately when still slightly warm. Serve with a dusting of icing sugar and perhaps a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

*These tarts are best served immediately or on the day it is made. The custard will soften the flaky tart shells if you keep them for too long.


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