Classic English Egg Custard Tart

English egg custard tart recipe

The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Chill : 30 mins
Total: 90 mins
Servings: 8 to 10 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
311 Calories
21g Fat
23g Carbs
7g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 311
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 21g 27%
Saturated Fat 11g 57%
Cholesterol 165mg 55%
Sodium 96mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 23g 8%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 7g
Vitamin C 0mg 2%
Calcium 76mg 6%
Iron 1mg 8%
Potassium 141mg 3%
*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.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

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. I had about 1/2 cup's worth of custard that didn’t fit in the tart tin so I baked it off in a ramekin so nothing was wasted.” —Carrie Parente

Classic English Egg Custard Tart Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 3 ounces/6 tablespoons unsalted butter, or an equal mix of butter and lard, cubed

  • Pinch of salt

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons cold water

  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten

  • 2 large egg yolks, lightly 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

Steps to Make It

Make the Pastry

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for English egg custard tart
    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii
  2. Heat the oven to 425 F. Place the flour, butter, and salt into a large, clean 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.

    Crumbled flour and butter in a bowl
    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii
  3. 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 in cling wrap, and chill for a minimum of 15 minutes, up to 30 minutes.

    Wrap the dough in cling wrap
    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii 
  4. Gently roll the pastry and line 1 (1/2-inch-deep, 7-inch-diameter) tart tin. Don't overstretch the pastry while rolling, as it may crack in the oven. Brush the pastry all over with a little of the beaten egg to help seal the pastry during the cooking process. Place the pastry in the fridge while you make the filling.

    Dough with crimped edges in a pastry tin
    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

Make the Custard

  1. In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs and egg yolks with the sugar.

    Whisk eggs
    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii
  2. Warm the cream to a gentle simmer over medium heat.

    Warm the cream
    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii 
  3. Pour the cream slowly over the beaten eggs, stirring constantly. Be careful not to overheat the cream or add too much at once, or it will curdle the eggs. Add the vanilla extract, if using.

    Add cream to eggs
    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

Assemble the Tart

  1. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet. Pour the egg and cream mixture through a sieve into the pastry case.

    Pouring egg and cream into pastry case
    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii
  2. Sprinkle with the grated nutmeg, making a generous, even layer. Bake in the center of the preheated oven for 10 minutes to brown the pastry. Lower the temperature to 350 F and continue cooking for a further 20 minutes or until the custard is almost set—it should still wobble ever so slightly, indicating it is cooked. It will firm up even more as it cools, so be careful not to overcook.

    Egg custard tart sprinkled with nutmeg
    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii 
  3. Serve slightly warm or leave to go cold on the kitchen counter. Enjoy.

    Serving English custard tart
    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

How to Store Baked Egg Custard Tart

Purists of this type of baking always suggest keeping the leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature and eating them within two days. Because the eggs have been cooked, and all the potential bacteria are killed in the process, leaving an egg-containing cake or tart at room temperature should be safe, as long as it's eaten within 48 hours.


However, if you feel it is safer to refrigerate the tart, cover it with cling wrap, pressing the plastic against the surface of the custard. This prevents the surface from becoming rubbery. To eat, leave at room temperature for 10 minutes and briefly heat the tart at 350 F for 5 to 7 minutes.

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