Pull the pie dough from the fridge 30 minutes before rolling.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the entire piece of pie dough into a rectangle shape 20 inches by 12 inches and ¼ inch thick. Spread five tbsp of butter evenly over the surface of the pastry and roll it up from the short end (to create a spiral effect of sorts). Wrap and chill the dough while preparing the filling.
Heat the cream and milk in a heavy-bottomed saucepot over medium heat to just below a simmer. Whisk the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch and vanilla in a bowl. Slowly pour the hot cream into the egg mixture while whisking, and then pour this back into the pot. Whisk the custard constantly over medium heat until it thickens and just begins to bubble, about four minutes. Strain the custard into a bowl, stir in the bowl, and place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard, to prevent a skin from forming. Cool the custard on the counter for 40 minutes, then chill for 1 ½ hours.
Preheat the oven to 375°F and lightly grease a 12 cup muffin tin. Remove the pastry dough from the fridge and cut 12 discs from the log. Roll out each portion on a lightly floured surface to just shy of ¼ inch thick and cut a round about five inches across. Press each portion into the muffin tin, so that the edges of each tart shell are about ½ inch above the edge of each muffin cup. Spoon the chilled custard into the pastry.
Bake the tarts for 35 to 45 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown and the custard has browned on top somewhat. Cool the tarts in the tin before removing to serve at room temperature or chilled.
The tarts can be stored chilled for up to three days.
*Double Crust Pie Dough:
Makes enough pastry for one 2 crust pie
- 2 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour
- 4 tsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup cool unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 large egg, directly from the fridge
- 2 tbsp cold water
- 2 tsp white vinegar or lemon juice
Combine the flour, sugar and salt. Cut butter into small pieces (you can pull the butter from the fridge 30 minutes before adding) and add to the flour, mixing it in until the dough is a rough, crumbly texture.
Whisk the egg, water and vinegar or lemon juice and add it all at once, mixing until dough comes together. Shape dough into two logs or discs, wrap them in plastic and chill for at least one hour before rolling.
The pie dough can be frozen for up to six months and thawed in the refrigerator.