How to Make Custard Tarts

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.

A Custard Tart © Pauline Wiles

A Custard Tart © Pauline Wiles

Custard Tarts


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
ground nutmeg


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.


  1. Donna Brock says

    Tnank you for this. I have wondered about Lionel’s (As TimeGoes By) favorite sweet. What is a shortcrust pastry? Is it the same as the American pie crust?
    Thank you in advance.

  2. Kathleen says

    Looks yummy. All I could think about when I read the title was Lionel from the show As Time Goes By since his love of custard tarts is a running joke on the show.

  3. Joanna says

    Lionel’s favorite snack was THE first thing I thought of, too, when I saw the title of this post! Like minds and all that… ;-}

    THANK YOU SO MUCH for posting the recipe! I don’t know what shortcrust pastry is, either, but I should think any good prepared pie crust would suffice. ??

  4. Jean | says

    Pauline and Melissa, I do so love custard tarts! I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, I guess, because I use just 2 tablespoons of sugar for that amount of custard. Of course, I’m also the woman who likes pumpkin pie made with just 1/4 cup of sugar (I use 2 or 3 times as much, though, when making the pie for company)!

  5. says

    Love custard tarts – so small and dainty! I’ve never made them myself but maybe will give it a go! (I usually stick to jam tarts, which are really simple).

  6. Phil Hill says

    Add a little almond flavouring to these for the authentic Portugese almond nuts that they eat two or three with a quick espresso, in a morning on the way to work .

  7. Char says

    I, too, immediately though of Lionel (my local PBS show is airing re-runs…all of which I’ve already seen but I love the show).

    I’m not clear what “caster sugar” is, though.