Milk tart for a non Easter celebration on a prolonged weekend that's made for rest
We don't do Easter, here at home. Not catholic, not Christians, yaddayaddayadda, ya'll know this by now. We shouldn't do Christmas as well, right? Wrong, but I have shared plenty of times why I am such a sucker for Christmas and it has nothing to do with Christianity, and a lot to do with, well... food. Nothing beats Christmas fare when it comes to eats. Good eats. The kind of eats that will leave you feeling stuffed for months on end. All. That. Delicious. Food.
Not with Easter. I have no cravings when it comes to Easter. I sincerely do not like the sugar coated almonds that are so traditional here in Portugal, and I frankly cannot for the life of me stomach the typical sweet "folar" - a type of sweet bread with boiled eggs still in their shells in it - nor the northerner "pão de ló" - which is mistakenly called many times a sponge cake, it is NOT a sponge cake. The only "pão de ló" I will eat is from Alfeizerão, which happens to be the village next to the place where I summer every year... - although I do like the savoury version of "folar" from the Trás os Montes region, full of "enchidos" and cured meats. And I do like the lamb.
But other from that, Easter has no significance to me, except for the clear memory of staying up late on good friday to watch TV shows about Jesus Christ and the life of Christ, and on Easter Sunday delighting myself on re-runs of Quo Vadis, because Peter Ustinov playing Nero is a moment of pure genius, plus Nuno Salvador Barreto - who was a portuguese bullfighter - is quite awesome on that famed bullfighting scene, even if he was only standing in for the actor who played Ursus. Ah, and the memory of getting a bit drunk on a paper bag of liquer candy almonds - which contained no almonds whatsoever, only sugar casings with fiery liqueur inside - that my grandad sent me and my sister for Easter once, and I ate all of mine in one sitting, they were that good...
I often wonder why, if I manage to celebrate Christmas in my own personal way, celebrating the home, the hearth, the warmth and light we must make do as families within our cores, why can't I come to terms with Easter and celebrate it with a personal meaning as well? I mean, there would be much to celebrate: the return of light, longer days, Spring making do for a renewal of life, nature waking up from its deep sleep, thoughts of giving ourselves more to the world and the outside, a new beggining of sorts... but maybe it's because Easter is mobile while Christmas is not, or maybe because I feel that Easter is far too ingrained in Christian - and Catholic - tradition for me to be able to extricate it from it.
So Easter ends up being just an excuse for me to eat lamb, you know, because lamb is so expensive, but I love it so much. I'm having lamb chops this year, and the last time I remember having lamb chops, my son was just a tiny boy of barely two, we were at a restaurant in Borba - in Alentejo region, where wine is just the best in the world - and we had lamb chops for lunch and that boy gobbled on lamb chops and good Alentejo bread and salad like there was no tomorrow. I had never seen him eat so much except for roast rabbit a few weeks prior to those lamb chops. I wonder what he wil make of them, this time. He does love lamb, though.
Easter is also a great excuse for having my husband home on a long weekend. We were thinking of going away this weekend, we would have left yesterday and we would be back Sunday evening or Monday morning, but the weather forecast promised rain so we decided to skip the trip. It's not like I haven't quite a lot to do around here, but sometimes it feels so good to just hop on the car and go away for a few days. Anyway, we're staying home together, and there will be lamb for Sunday lunch, and there will be a sweet or two, there will be fun and games for sure. Maybe I will even serve another batch of this yumm milk tart that had us all salivating with the smell of it, the first thing I baked in my new oven!
And to make this delightful milk tart, you'll need:
- 375 gr caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 175 gr soft butter
- 215 gr flour
- 500 ml milk
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
On a bowl add all the ingredients by the above given order and then with a blender - do not, at any time, use a stand up mixer, trust me on this one, use the blender! - blend until it is all mixed and creamy like. Line a tart platter with melted butter and flour, pour the batter to half the height and cook on a previously heated oven at 200º for 35 to 40 minutes. Take it off the oven and let cool before you sprinkle them with a mix of sugar and cinnamon. Serve still warm or allow to cool completely, this is such an easy dessert and such a good one, if like me you're into cinnamon. Perfect for ending up a lavish meal, as it is quite light. I hope you enjoy it!