In the minds of most British foodies, ‘custard’ is almost inseparable from ‘tart’. Our ancestors thought so too, as the word custard is derived from the French croustade, meaning a kind of pie.
Regardless of the French influence, custard tarts are now considered a classic British treat. They’re fast and easy to make, fairly nutritious, and strike a curious balance between elegance and comfort food. On a recent British TV show, custard tarts were even selected for the final course in a banquet in honour of the Queen’s 80th birthday.
Shortcrust pastry: either make your own with 250g (2 cups) of flour, or use half a purchased pack
300ml (1 1/4 cups) fresh milk (I used part half & half and part milk)
2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
40g (1/3 cup) caster sugar, or a little more if you have a sweet tooth
1. Roll out the pastry, cut circles, and use to line 9-10 muffin tins or individual tart tins
2. Heat the milk gently until warm
3. Stir sugar into milk and allow to cool slightly
3. Beat together eggs and egg yolk, then stir into the milk mixture
4. Pour carefully into the pastry cases (fill to the top, as custard will settle as it cools)
5. Sprinkle each with nutmeg
6. Bake at 180C (350F) for 20-25 mins, until just set. They should seem a little wobbly when you bring them out of the oven.
7. Eat warm, or allow to cool
Pauline is British by birth and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area nine years ago and, apart from a yearning for afternoon tea and historic homes, has never looked back. Her work has been published by House of Fifty, Toasted Cheese and Alfie Dog Fiction. Her first novel, Saving Saffron Sweeting, was released in Spring 2013. Visit her site here.