serendipity, with blowtorch


ginger brulee tartlets

Ahh serendipity….such a delicious word and equally such a delicious phenomenon to encounter. A fortuitous coincidence – when things just work out for the best – a stroke of good luck. Something that we could all do with a little more of in our lives.

A few weeks ago on my birthday, I was lucky enough to have a bit of serendipity swing my way in the form of what else but a blow torch.

So it all happened on my Birthday…. For lunch I dropped in to the gorgeous Bourke St Bakery for a quick Birthday sandwich: a tasty combo of slow roasted lamb with minted chickpea puree on some of their divine sourdough..yum. But of course because it was my Birthday lunch also consisted of a dessert course: one of their heavenly ginger brulee tartlets – so popular that they are often sold out by afternoon.

As luck would have it there were a few of these delicious little treats available so I quickly placed my order. These tarts are the goods – the lightest, crispiest pastry filled with a ginger scented custard that is the perfect balance between spice and creaminess but that’s not all. To complete this flavour and texture explosion is a crunchy caramelised brulee topping bejewelled with a sprinkle of pretty pistachios….p-e-r-f-e-c-t-i-o-n.

After savouring every last bight of my Birthday treat, I had a moment of clarity….I need more brulee in my life….I need to be able to make these tarts….I need my own blowtorch. Decision made, I began to ponder where I should go to procure my new toy but decided to  leave it until the weekend.

Fast forward to that evening – Birthday drinks at the Bentley Bar in Surry Hills. In waltzes the gorgeous missy Helgs bearing an intriguing birthday gift….A few short moments of kisses, card reading and paper tearing and my gift is revealed….a shiny new blowtorch. Only one word to describe it: SERENDIPITY.

ginger brulee tartlets
makes approx 12

This pastry recipe was adapted from the master pastry chef, Lorraine Godsmark, formerly of Rockpool and now turning out the most divine tarts and desserts at her Potts Point restaurant, Yellow. The recipe was kindly posted by Helen at Grab Your Fork after she was lucky enough to attend a class given by Lorraine. It worked pretty well so looks like I’m going to ditch my old favourite sweet pastry recipe a la Jamie Oliver…progress?

Lorraine actually uses an egg and an additional yolk and milk but I found my version worked pretty well. She also recommends allowing the pastry to rest in the fridge overnight which I had the time for on this occasion but will give it a try without in the future.

The custard filling is pretty time consuming but well worth the effort as it negates the need to bake the pastry with wet filling and maximises the crispiness of your tart shell.

250g plain flour
175g unsalted butter, chilled and chopped into 2cm cubes
25g icing sugar
pinch salt
1 egg + enough water to make up to 90g, lightly beaten
for the custard:
500mL cream – 35% milk fat
50g fresh ginger (approx 2 thumb sized pieces) peeled and thinly sliced
1/2t ground ginger
4 yolks
45g sugar
castor sugar, extra for bruleeing
chopped pistachios, to serve

In a food processor pulse flour, salt and butter five times then add sugar and pulse again. Add combined egg and water and mix until the liquid is mixed though. This only takes ten seconds or so. The mix will still look crumbly and there will still be small chunks of butter visible. This is a good thing.

Turn mix out onto a large sheet of cling wrap and pat to form a log about 4cm in diameter. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate ideally overnight or at least for 1 hour.

Cut a 10mm slice of dough and roll on a lightly floured surface until approx 5mm thick. Line a 5cm tartlet tin with pastry and trim edges. Prick base twice with a fork. Repeat until you have 12 shells. There will be pastry left over which you can freeze for another use.

Rest tartlets in the fridge for at least 30mins. Preheat an oven to 200C and bake tarts for 10-20mins or until crisp and golden. Allow to cool.

For the filling, bring cream and gingers to a simmer and remove from the heat. Allow to infuse for 20mins. Whisk yolks and sugar until pale. Return cream to a simmer and pour over egg mixture. Return custard to the saucepan and cook stirring continuously over a low heat for approx 15mins or until custard is as thick as honey. Be careful not to boil as this will cause the custard to curdle.

Strain custard into a clean bowl and allow to cool. Cover surface with cling film and refirgerate until well chilled.

When tart shells and custard are cool, fill shells with custard and place in the freeer for 10mins. Sprinkle each tartlet with approx 2t castor sugar and brulee with a blowtorch. Sprinkle with nuts while still hot and refrigerate until ready to serve.


ginger brulee tartlets


  • Man … it’s a birthday present for me too if I keep receiving such delicious desserts as those ginger brulee tarts!!! I think I did quote, the best brulee I had ever had …

  • Jules, I love this post any post that contains, “I need more brulee in my life” is a favourite in my eyes. It couldn’t be more true, I could use with a brulee a day!
    Congratulations on your birthday and it looks like your birthday wish came true. Beautiful tarts, they look just as gorgeous as BS Bakery’s.

  • Oooo! I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a blowtorch for the past few months, but this definetely seals the deal :D

    Also – I’ve had your divine marinated pork ribs on my mind since you blogged them, so I’ve organized a cookathon with my girlfriend this weekend to give them a try! I hope they work out as well as yours did!

  • Beautiful B things. Bourke st Bakery, Brulee, Blowtorch. Those tarts are the very very best and you’re look like a fantastic imitation. Well done you!

  • I’ve been wanting to try creme brulee in a tart shell for ages and ginger brulee is one of my favorites. Beautifully decorated :)

  • missy helgs,
    thanks again!

    bring on the brulee…thanks for the bday wishes

    yes a bigger kitchen would help..but then I’d probably just fill it up with more kitchen stuff anyway

    yeah life with a blowtorch is good.
    let me know how you get on with the ribs

    beautiful b things exactly..why didn’t I think of that

    if you’re ever in sydney get yourself to the bourke st bakery to try the original…perfection

  • hi jules,
    what a delicious looking brulee tartles…that crispy buttery shell plus ginger…I love ginger – unfortunately I don’t have a blow torch (can use some serendipity as well!) but the picture looks amazing! =)

  • my mouth is watering and i have the biggest craving for brulee!! i am so jealous of your blow torch!! That’s awesome!! Yummy!! xoxo

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