Vanilla and Thyme Brulee Tart

Show off your Masterchef baking skills with this impressive but easy dessert. A delicate thyme-infused vanilla bean custard is baked into a buttery pastry tart shell and finished with a gorgeous layer of torched sugar. Wow, and then some.

Prep:
20 mins
Cook:
60 mins
Serves:
10-12

Ingredients

Pastry
  1. 1 3/4 cups (250g) plain flour
  2. pinch of salt
  3. ½ cup (50g) icing sugar
  4. 115g butter, cold
  5. 1 egg
  6. 1 tsp Queen Madagascan Vanilla Bean Paste
Filling
  1. 1 cup (250ml) thickened cream
  2. 1 bunch fresh thyme, leaves removed and stems discarded
  3. 1 egg + 3 egg yolks
  4. 1/3 cup (70g) caster sugar, plus extra
  5. 1/8 tsp salt
  6. ½ cup (125ml) milk
  7. 1 tsp Queen Finest Single Origin Vanilla Extract, Madagascar
Brulee
  1. Caster sugar
  2. Thyme leaves

Method

  1. Step 1

    Start by infusing the cream for the filling. Combine fresh thyme leaves and cream together in a heavy bottomed saucepan and heat slowly until just simmering. Turn off the heat and leave to cool completely to room temperature. Once cool, strain out the thyme leaves.

  2. Step 2

    To make the tart case, place the flour, salt and icing sugar into a food processor. Cut the butter into small cubes, and add to the flour mix. Pulse until the mixture looks like damp sand. Add vanilla and egg and process until pastry just comes together. Tip onto a lightly floured surface, pat into a flat disk, wrap in plastic and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

  3. Step 3

    Preheat the oven to 180°C. Roll the pastry out to 3-4mm thickness and lift over a rolling pin to place in a 9inch (23cm) tart tin. If the pastry tears, gently press it back together in the tin. Place the pastry into the freezer for 10 minutes. When the pastry is chilled, line it with baking paper and fill with baking beans (or rice) and bake for 15 minutes. Remove paper and beans, then bake for a further 15 minutes until golden brown and crisp. Remove from the oven, and turn down to 150°C.

  4. Step 4

    In a large measuring jug, whisk together egg, yolks, sugar and salt, followed by thyme infused cream, milk and vanilla extract. Pour filling carefully into the tart shell, and place in the oven.

  5. Step 5

    Bake tart for 25-30 minutes, or until set, with a distinct wobble still in the center. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack. Just before serving, sprinkle the top generously with caster sugar, and then scorch the sugar with a blow torch, creating the crème brulee effect. Serve.