Baking British Desserts Recipes Vegetarian

Traditional English Custard Tart

English Custard Tart

One of the best things about coming home to Aberystwyth for the holidays are my parent’s chickens. There’s nothing better than three home-grown free range chickens each producing an egg  a day for your eating pleasure. Apart from the fact that, beyond a little upkeep, the eggs are basically free, the bonus of keeping chickens is that the eggs are so much better than the ones you find in the supermarket. Because the chickens are treated properly and the eggs are fresh, eggs laid by your own chickens will have far more colour and flavour.

The problem, of course, is what to do with all those confounded eggs. Never fear, custard tart is here. I always remember, as a child, going to The Penguin, a local cafe which served fantastic custard tarts and this recipe produces a tart that tastes exactly the same, it’s simply delicious. Don’t be put off by the fact it uses a pint of cream, you only require a little slice. With this recipe you will feed 10-12 people, if not more, in around an hour and a half.



  • 150g plain flour, sieved
  • 75g butter or spread, cut into small chunks
  • pinch of salt
  • tbsp of water


Rub the butter into the flour, in a mixing bowl, using only your finger tips. This step is complete when they resemble bread crumbs.

Add the water and salt bringing it together first with a knife and then your hands, until it resembles the sphere below.

Place this in a food bag and put it in the fridge for around 20-30 minutes.

After the “cooling-off period”, so-to-speak, place on a floured surface and roll until no more than a few millimetres thick. James Martin, the TV chef, recently claimed that you should be able to read newspaper through pastry once it is rolled, I’m not sure this isn’t a complete fabrication, but you get the idea.

Pre-heat the oven to 190C. Place the rolled out pastry over a flan dish and shape to it. Trim off the edges and fill in any holes, although you shouldn’t really have any.

Bake the pastry blind for around 15-20 minutes, remember to prick the base with a fork before you do so. Now for the filling.



  • 3 large eggs + 2 large egg yolks, save the egg whites for my next recipe (we must be frugal)
  • 50g caster sugar, granulated will do
  • 1 pint single cream
  • sprinkling of nutmeg


Beat together the eggs and sugar in a heat-proof measuring jug.

Bring the cream to the simmer on a stove. Whisk the egg mixture and cream together, adding a pinch of nutmeg. Pour this into the freshly baked pastry case, sprinkling some more nutmeg on top. Bake at 170C for a further 30-40 minutes, or until firm. Let it rest until it looks something similar to this:

Divide into as many slices as you deem necessary. Enjoy.


If you aren’t using home-produced eggs the whole tart will cost around £3 to make. If you are, it should come at around £1.70. Delectable.

7 replies on “Traditional English Custard Tart”

You had me at ‘a pint of cream’! I love this sort of old-fashioned proper farmhouse food, it’s the sort of thing I can imagine a ruddy-faced farmer’s wife offering the Famous Five. Oh how I wish we had chickens!

I totally agree. However I am neither a wife, nor ruddy faced. Not yet anyway, although I guess I could eventually be both… get some! They’re very cheap to both buy and keep. Lots of fun too.

I made this the other day. It was fabulous, but only after being in the fridge for a good while. Don’t be tempted to eat it when it’s fresh out of the oven; refrigerate first! The texture is much improved for it.

If you like my recipes, photos or food please leave a comment here...