Tarta tres leches

  • For the gold cake
  • 110g butter
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 350g sifted soft plain flour, plus 2 tbsps
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 85ml milk
  • For the pastry
  • 300g homemade Shortbread, recipe follows
  • 4 tbsp caster sugar
  • 4 tbsp salted butter
  • Lightly beaten egg whites
  • For the creme
  • 250ml whole milk, plus 60ml whole milk
  • 60ml half-and-half (half milk, half cream)
  • 160g caster sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 eggs
  • 50g cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp butter, cubed small
  • 1/2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • For the meringue
  • 225ml golden syrup
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 2 egg whites
  • For the shortbread
  • 225g salted butter, softened
  • 50g sugar
  • 70g icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 350g plain flour
  • 40g rice flour
  • 40g cornflour
  • For the three milks
  • 40g evaporated milk
  • 60ml sweetened condensed milk
  • 60ml whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp rum
  • For the garnish
  • Maraschino cherries
  • Mint leaves
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp cinnamon sugar
  • Cajeta (or dulce de leche)
For the gold cake:
1) Beat butter, add caster sugar, add eggs, vanilla. Beat for 2 minutes.

2) Combine plain flour, baking powder and salt. Add plain flour mixture and alternate with milk. Grease and flour cake tin. Line with baking paper. Pour batter into the pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

For the pastry:
1) Process the shortbread in a food processor, pulsing until ground. Add caster sugar, pulse more, add butter and pulse until it looks like wet sand and holds somewhat together.

2) Press into a glass pie dish and bake at 190C for 15 minutes. Set on stove to cool. brush lightly with beaten egg whites.

For the creme:
1) In a double boiler or bain marie, place 250ml of whole milk, the half-and-half, 160g sugar and cinnamon sticks. Let heat until boiling and turn down to medium-high heat.

2) Separate 6 eggs saving the whites in a separate bowl. Whisk the yolks, cornflour and the additional whole milk until well blended. Using a ladle, scoop out some of the hot milk mixture and temper the eggs whisking it carefully and adding it to the hot milk mixture. Take care to continuously stir with a whisk or it will lump up.

3) When thickened pull off of heat source and add vanilla and butter. Cover and put in freezer to cool for 10 minutes.

For the meringue:
1) In a saucepan, boil the golden syrup, salt and sugar.

2) Meanwhile, whisk egg whites in a stand mixer until firm peaks form.

3) Take melted sugars off the stove and in a steady stream, add to the whisking egg whites. Keep whisking until glossy. Cover with a towel.

For the shortbread:
1) Cream butter, add sugars, blend and add vanilla. Add plain flour and cornflour carefully by hand. Set aside and chill.

2) Roll out between 2 pieces of baking paper, set in a cake pan to bake, mark designs with a fork.

3) Bake in a preheated 160C oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on a rack.

For the three milks:
1) Combine the evaporated milk, condensed milk, double cream and rum.

For the assembly:
1) Spread creme on the shortcrust. Add layer of gold cake. Poke holes with a fork and brush or spray cake layer with three milks mixture saving any that will not absorb into the cake layer.

2) Spread meringue over the top, being sure to seal down to the edge of the crust.

3) Garnish with maraschino cherries, 5 mint leaves and cake crumbs.

4) Plate pie with a cinnamon stick rolled in cinnamon on the side and porcelain bull filled with more milk. Drizzle with cajeta.

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