In my house, pasticciotto (a traditional custard pastry) has always been eaten warm. Except when it is eaten hot, because waiting more than two minutes after it comes out of the oven is truly difficult. My grandmother used to scold us all, starting with my grandfather, who was always the first to descend upon the tray! I spent a lot of time with them in Puglia.
This was more or less how it worked: As soon as my grandmother took the tray out of the oven, we would run into the kitchen and she would tell us that this was the last batch of pasticciotti she would ever make, that it was too hot, and that the following Sunday we would have to make do with ordering them from a bakery. Partly to tease her and partly because we feared it might be true, we would call the local bakeries (or rather, our grandfather would call) on Fridays. But as soon as the call started, my grandmother would tell him to hang up, saying that x bakery’s weren’t as good as hers. Indeed, she would say this about all the bakeries in turn. And so no pasticciotto other than her own has ever crossed the threshold of my grandmother’s house.
Saturdays began with making a large quantity of custard, which had to reach the perfect consistency before going into the oven: not too liquid because it would wet the pastry too much, not too solid because it would come out dry.
When my grandmother got up on Sunday morning (she always got up before dawn), she would prepare the pastry, let it rest for at least one hour in the refrigerator, and then, using the pastry cutter she inherited from her mother, cut out the circles for the pasticciotti. Rarely did I see this process, because Sunday at dawn was her favourite time, but I will never forget waking up to the scent of pasticciotti baking in the oven! I would rush to the kitchen, my grandmother would prepare the milk, and from there I would count down the seconds until biting into my pasticciotto!