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British Custard Tart

British Custard Tart. A rich, creamy baked custard, favoured with nutmeg inside a flakey pastry crust. Makes a great celebration dessert.

British Custard Tart, a rich creamy egg custard baked in a flakey pastry crust.

British Custard Tart, a rich creamy egg custard baked in a flakey pastry crust.

I’ve seen this custard tart on many food shows from the UK. I love British cooking shows and none more than the baking shows which have always been my favourite.

That’s probably because I have been baking from a very early age.

I have made a few versions of baked custard tarts and pies myself over the years, including my now famous and very easy Sour Cream Flan.

Also commonly known as Egg Custard Pie, I saw this tart being baked on a competition show recently. Naturally, I knew I had to try a version of it myself.

Fresh strawberries close up photo.

Fresh ripe strawberries are great to serve with this British Custard Tart but so are raspberries, or any kind of berry you like.

To me, it does have a bit of a Christmasy vibe because with all the cream, eggs and nutmeg. With all of those ingredients included, it is very reminiscent of eggnog.

I’m actually keeping this one in mind for Christmas dinner next year, maybe served with a cranberry and clementine compote.

Also be sure to check out the Blueberry version of our popular Sour Cream Flan.

You might also like our Summer Peach Custard Tart.

Summer Peach Custard Tart photo with title text added for Pinterest

Originally published February 2014.

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British Custard Tart, a rich creamy egg custard baked in a flakey pastry crust.

British Custard Tart

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British Custard Tart
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 40 mins
Total Time
2 hrs 10 mins

British Custard Tart - a rich, creamy baked custard, favoured with nutmeg inside a flakey pastry crust. Makes a great celebration dessert.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British Inspired
Servings: 8 to 10 servings
Author: Barry C. Parsons
For the pastry
  • 2 ¼ cups flour
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter (Very cold and cut in small cubes)
  • 4-6 tbsp ice water + 1 tsp white vinegar
For the filling
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • pinch salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • the seed paste scraped from the onside of a small vanilla bean + the remaining vanilla pod
  • 4 eggs
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar , lightly packed
  • freshly grated nutmeg
To prepare the pastry
  1. This pastry recipe is sufficient for 2 pie shells but the second half of the pastry is easily formed into a flat round, wrapped tightly in a couple of layers of plastic wrap and frozen for several weeks until you need it.
  2. Pulse the cold butter into the flour, sugar and salt using a food processor or pastry cutter until the butter is reduced to pea sized pieces.
  3. Remove to a large bowl. Sprinkle the water and vinegar over the surface and toss with a fork until the water is just incorporated into the dough. Do not over work the dough; handle it only enough so that the dough stays together.
  4. Separate the dough into 2 balls and wrap in plastic. Place in the fridge to chill well. You can freeze one for another time.
  5. Roll out into a 12 inch round and place into a 9 inch deep dish pie plate or tart pan being careful not to stretch the dough or it will shrink during baking. Trim the excess pastry from the edges and chill the pan for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  6. Lay a sheet of parchment paper or aluminum foil over the pastry in the pan and fill the pan with baking weights. If you don’t have baking weights, dry kidney beans or rice will do in a pinch; anything that will weigh down the bottom pastry so that it doesn’t puff up. You can reuse dry beans many times for blind baking so be sure to save them for that purpose.
  7. Blind bake the pastry using the baking weights for about 15 minutes, remove the baking weights and parchment paper and bake for another 10-15 minutes to crisp the bottom of the pie shell. Remove from oven while you prepare the filling. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees F.
To prepare the filling
  1. In a small saucepan over low heat add the whipping cream, milk, salt and vanilla pod. You want to heat this very slowly to almost boiling so the full flavor of the vanilla bean gets infused into the cream and milk. When heated remove the vanilla bean and set aside for a couple of minutes. (NOTE: In a pinch, 4 tsp of pure vanilla extract can be substituted for the vanilla bean.)
  2. Whip together the eggs and brown sugar very well. Slowly whisk in the hot milk a little at a time; too fast and you’ll scramble the eggs.
  3. Remove from heat and pass the cream and egg mixture through a sieve into a large heat proof measuring cup or jug.
  4. Heat oven to 300 degrees F. Place the blind baked pie shell in its pan on a baking sheet. Pour in the cream and egg mixture until it has almost reached the top of the shell. Finely grate or sprinkle on a dusting of freshly grated nutmeg.
  5. Place the baking sheet in the oven. If you have a little more cream mixture to bring the level to the top of the crust, you can carefully pour that into the pan when it is in the oven to avoid spillage. It’s perfectly okay if you have a little of the filling mixture left over, pan sizes do vary.
  6. Bake for 60 -70 minutes. The top should be pale golden brown and the center swill still juggle a little at the center.
  7. Remove from the oven and let cool to almost room temperature before transferring to the fridge to cool and set completely. This will take several hours or overnight. Serve with fresh berries or seasonal fruit salad.
Recipe Rating

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Saturday 15th of February 2014

Hi - Anna Olsen - that's the one. Have been wanting some of her books but for some reason Canadian books are very expensive on Amazon UK - so it will have to wait until we travel to Canada on holiday. Here's the link to the Marcus Wareing recipe - evidently it was his grandmother's - 9 egg yolks so very, very rich but I remember on the Great British Chef's programme that it just looked as we say here in the UK 'the business'!!

Barry C. Parsons

Saturday 15th of February 2014

The lady is Anna Olsen. I watch her all the time here on Food Network Canada. Although known as a pastry chef she has a cooking show here too. I agree she is excellent.


Saturday 15th of February 2014

Hi, love your blog. Suggest you look for the custard tart by Marcus Wareing it is complete and utter perfection. It was baked for a dinner to be attended by the Queen as part of a TV series competition by the top British regional chefs. If you are unable to find it please let me know and I can send it to you. It just cannot be bettered. We have been hooked on a baking show from Canada, cannot think of her name at the moment, blonde lady, wonderful to watch because she's so fastidious about hygiene etc and the results look wonderful. Love your blog.

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