Classic English Egg Custard Tar


  • 150g (1 1/2 cups) plain flour
  • 75g (3oz) butter or an equal mix of butter and lard, cubed Pinch of salt
  • 2 to 3 tablespoon cold water
  • 3 large eggs, plus 2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 55 g (1/3 cup) caster sugar
  • 570 m1 (2 1/2 cups) single or light cream
  • Optional: 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole nutmeg, freshly grated


Steps to Make It

  • Heat the oven to 425 F/220 C/Gas 7
  • 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.
  • Add the very cold water to the mixture and using a cold knife stir until the dough binds together, add more water a teaspoon at a time if the mixture is too dry. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill for a minimum of 15 minutes, up to 30 minutes.
  • Gently roll the pastry and line a 1 1/2"/4 cm deep, x 7"/18 cm base tart tin. Be careful not to overstretch the pastry while rolling or it may crack in the oven. Brush the pastry all over with a little of the beaten egg; this will help seal the pastry during cooking.
  • Place the pastry in the fridge while you make the filling.
  • In a large bowl beat the eggs and egg yolks lightly with the sugar.
  • Warm the cream to a gentle simmer, then pour the cream slowly over the beaten eggs, stirring constantly. Be careful not to overheat the cream, or it will curdle the eggs. Add the vanilla extract if you are using.
  • Pour the egg and cream mixture through a sieve into the pastry case. Sprinkle with the grated nutmeg making a generous, even layer.
  • Place the tart onto a baking sheet and bake in the center of the preheated oven for 10 minutes to brown the pastry. Lower the temperature to 350 F/180 C/Gas 4 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.
  • Serve slightly warm or leave to go cold but not fridge cold—store in an airtight tin but never the fridge.