Baked egg custard tart is an all-time British classic that has its origins many centuries back. Found throughout Europe in different versions, the British recipe is always made with shortcrust pastry and perfumed with fragrant nutmeg.
Either one tart for multiple servings or individual mini tarts can be made, and both are traditional, as many bakeries sell the smaller version for guests who are looking for an afternoon treat. Served with afternoon tea or used as a dessert, this recipe will certainly bring back childhood memories for anyone lucky enough to eat these when young. It can be eaten when slightly warm with a delicately wobbly center, or when cold and firm—there is no wrong way of eating this beautiful dessert.
Despite the way it looks, making an egg custard tart is actually easy. Novice bakers can take on the challenge and still have a beautifully creamy tart to present. Also called custard tart, custard pie, or baked egg custard, this tart can be made using sweet pastry if you're pressed for time. Before you start, place a table knife in the freezer—you'll need it to mix your pastry and keep it from getting warm.
“Grating the nutmeg right over the custard filled tart tin gave me full control over where and how much nutmeg was added. Cinnamon would be a great substitution. I had about ⅔ cup of custard that didn’t fit in the tart tin, so I baked it off in a ramekin. Nothing was wasted!” —Carrie Parente
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, more as needed
6 tablespoons (3-ounces) unsalted butter, or an equal mix of butter and lard, cubed
Pinch of salt
2 to 3 tablespoons cold water
3 large eggs, beaten
2 large egg yolks, beaten
1/3 cup caster sugar
2 1/2 cups light cream
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, optional
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Make the Pastry
Gather the ingredients.
Place the flour, butter, and salt into a large bowl. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, working as quickly as possible to prevent the dough from becoming warm.
Add the very cold water to the mixture and then, use a cold knife to stir until the dough binds together. Add more water a teaspoon at a time if the mixture is too dry. Wrap the dough, and chill for a minimum of 15 minutes, up to 30 minutes.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the chilled dough into a 12-inch round. Fit the dough into a 9- to 9 1/2-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Don't overstretch the pastry while rolling, as it may crack in the oven. Trim the edges of the dough evenly with the top of the tart pan. Lightly dock the bottom of the dough in the tart pan. Transfer the pan to the refrigerator for 30 minutes, or alternatively freeze for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 375 F.
Line the tart with parchment, fill with dry beans or pie weights, and bake until the edges are dry and light brown, about 15 minutes.
Remove the parchment and the pie weights and continue to bake until the bottom crust is light golden, 5 to 8 minutes more. Remove from the oven and set aside while you make the filling.
Make the Custard
Gather the ingredients. Lower the oven to 325 F.
In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs and egg yolks with the sugar.
In a medium saucepan, warm the cream to a gentle simmer over medium heat.
Drizzle the cream slowly over the beaten eggs, whisking constantly to prevent cooking the eggs. Add the vanilla extract, if using.
Assemble the Tart
Place the tart pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour the egg-cream mixture through a fine sieve into the tart shell (if you have some remaining custard, you can bake it separately in an oven-proof ramekin).
Sprinkle evenly with the grated nutmeg. Transfer to the oven and bake until the edges of the custard are firm, and the center is set, but still wobbles a bit in the center when the pan is gently nudged, 24 to 27 minutes. The custard will firm up even more as it cools, so be careful not to overbake.
Let the baked tart cool to room temperature. Carefully remove the tart from the pan and serve.
How to Store Baked Egg Custard Tart
Refrigerate any remaining tart in an air-tight container. Bring to room temperature for 10 minutes before eating or briefly heat the tart at 350 F for 5 to 7 minutes.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 8 to 10|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 21g||27%|
|Saturated Fat 11g||57%|
|Total Carbohydrate 17g||6%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||2%|
|Total Sugars 3g|
|Vitamin C 0mg||2%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|