English Custard Tarts

Makes 1 large or 2 small tarts Prep Time 1 hours   Cook Time 40 minutes   Rated:

English Custard Tarts are a thing of beauty, even though they are a bit plain jane and don't make a very good instagram pic!

The origins of custard itself can be linked to medieval European cuisine. The word "custard" is derived from the French word "croustade," which initially referred to a kind of pie with a crust. However, over time, the term evolved to describe a filling made from eggs and milk which is what we think of today when we describing custard.

The custard tart of today had roots in medieval England, where custards were commonly used as fillings for pies. These early custard tarts were simple and consisted of a pastry crust filled with a mixture of eggs, milk, and sometimes sugar and spices. The popularity of custard tarts continued to grow during the Tudor and Stuart periods in England.

One of the earliest known recipes for a custard tart is found in a 14th-century English cookbook called "The Forme of Cury." This medieval recipe book, compiled by the master cooks of Richard II, includes instructions for a dish called "Tart de bry," which is a baked custard tart.

Custard tarts gained widespread popularity in England during Renaissance and Elizabethan times. They became a favorite among the upper classes and were often served at grand feasts and banquets.

Today the English custard tart has not changed much, is still a classic favoured dessert and although it is quite ordinary looking compared to the glamorous desserts we all have access to these days, it is really a solid family go to, always popular and is great for breakfast! (Just think of all those eggs!) No judgement from me, I love a good slice of custard tart for brekky. This was one of my fathers favourite English treats and although I have updated it a touch, I think he would still approve, though the addition of tonka bean may make him turn a little in his grave. Sorry Daddio!

We love our custard on this site, so make sure you check out some of our other amazing custardy goodness:

Steamed Lemon Custard

Pistachio Custard Pudding

White Chocolate Custard Fruit Tarts

Coconut Lime Custard Pie

Fried Custard with Spiced Passionfruit Syrup

Maple Caramel And Vanilla Custard With Pecan Crumb

Polish Vanilla Slice

Vanilla Slice

Butterscotch Tart with Curry Shortbread Crust

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To make the pastry, place the flour, lemon zest and butter into the Thermomix bowl. Mix 10 sec/speed 6 until mixture starts to come together.


Add sugar, egg and egg yolk. Mix 10 sec/speed 6.


Tip dough out on to a floured silpat mat. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.


Preheat oven to 180°C. Place tart tins on a tray. We used 21cm diameter tin with removable base and had enough left over for a smaller 8cm tart which is always useful!


Roll out pastry on a floured bench. Cut out circles, slightly larger than the tins. Press into the tins to line the base and sides.


Freeze for at least 30 minutes.


Line the inside of the pastry with baking paper and fill with rice or baking beans. Blind bake for 20 minutes.


Remove the beans/rice and paper and cool.


Turn oven temperature down to 130°C.


To make the custard filling, tonka bean and sugar into the Thermomix bowl. Mill 10 sec/speed 10.


Add vanilla, egg yolks and cream to the Thermomix bowl and cook 6 min/80°C/speed 4.


Pour the mixture through a fine sieve into a jug. Pour custard into tart shells and grate the nutmeg on top. Bake for 40-45 minutes until just set.

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