Egg Custard Tarts are one of my absolute favourite things, and if you love them too, you are going to love this homemade version! I know you can get them quite cheaply in the shops, but there's just something about making them yourself that makes them all the more satisfying! These egg custard tarts are the classic English kind which are made with a sweet shortcrust pastry. The pastry is so simple to make - but of course you can use a shop bought pastry if you prefer. You don't even have to blind bake the pastry first, once the custard is mixed up you pour it in and bake everything together.
Ingredient Tips & Equipment Information
- You can use either a baking spread or block butter for the shortcrust pastry. It should be used cold straight from the fridge.
- Make sure your eggs are at room temperature before you make the custard.
- For the custard, you can use either vanilla extract or the seeds from one vanilla pod. If using extract, use a good quality one for the best flavour, and avoid using a vanilla essence.
- Whole milk is best for the custard, you can use semi-skimmed though, or a mixture of the two.
- You could sprinkle the custard tarts with cinnamon instead of nutmeg if you prefer.
- Although I provide cup measurements, I highly recommend weighing your ingredients out using digital kitchen scales*. It is the most accurate way to measure ingredients and will ensure the best results. Digital scales are very low cost and can be purchased for around £12 ($16.50) .
- For teaspoon (tsp) and tablespoon (tbsp) measurements, please use measuring spoons* and not the type of spoons you eat with. Again this will ensure accuracy and provide the best results.
For the full recipe with measurements, head to the recipe card at the end of this post.
How to make Egg Custard Tarts
In a mixing bowl use your fingers to rub together butter, plain flour and caster sugar until it looks like breadcrumbs. Then add milk and bring the mixture together into a dough.
Wrap it in clingfilm and chill it in the fridge for 30 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough and cut out 4" rounds.
Grease a cupcake tin with a little butter and put strips of greaseproof paper in them (this will help you to lift the tarts out after baking them). Then put the rounds of dough into each hole and neaten the sides gently with your fingers.
For the custard, warm the milk and vanilla in a pan. In a bowl whisk the egg yolks and caster sugar together until smooth.
Pour the warm milk into the eggs, whisking as your pour. Then pour the mixture into a jug through a sieve. Place the tin onto the shelf, then pour the custard in and add a sprinkle of nutmeg to each one.
Bake the tarts, and then let them cool for at least 30 minutes before removing from the tin. You can enjoy them warm, or put in the fridge to chill.
How should the egg custard tarts be stored and can they be frozen?
The egg custard tarts should be stored in the fridge and they will keep for 2 days. Although they can be frozen, they are best enjoyed fresh. If you want to freeze them, wrap them well and freeze for up to 3 months.
Can this recipe be made gluten or dairy free?
Yes! For a gluten free version, replace the plain flour with a gluten free plain flour blend. You may also like to add 1 tsp xantham gum for better texture. For a dairy free version, use a dairy free baking spread and dairy free milk for the pastry and a dairy free milk for the filling. This recipe is not suitable for making without eggs.
What can you do with any leftover egg whites?
You will have leftover egg whites from this recipe, but don't discard them. You might like to try my Blackberry Meringue Roulade or my Nutella Meringue Roulade recipes as they both require 5 egg whites. Or you can make a pavlova, macarons, omelettes or a quiche with the leftover egg whites. If you don't want to use them the same day, then you can store them in the fridge in an airtight container for a couple of days. Or you can freeze them and defrost before using again.
Can this recipe be made into one giant tart?
Although I have not tried this (yet!) in theory yes I don't see why it wouldn't work. If you'd like me to post a recipe for a giant version please comment below to let me know!
Can you use shop bought pastry?
Yes! If you prefer, you can use shop bought ready made shortcrust pastry or ready made tart shells. If using a ready made shortcrust pastry that need to be cooked, follow the recipe instructions for how to blind bake it. For ready made tart shells, depending on the size of the ready made shells you may end up with a different amount of tarts in total.
More tips for making the Egg Custard Tarts:
- I used ground nutmeg for this recipe, but you can also use fresh if you prefer. I woul advise pre-grating it into a bowl and having it ready to go.
- You should not have any leftover custard when making these tarts, if you do, you may be using a shallower tin than me, the pastry has not been rolled thin enough, or the custard tarts have not been filled right to the top. Do not discard any leftover custard, butter a ramekin or other small oven dish and bake the custard on it's own.
If you have any questions about this recipe, or if something went wrong and you need help, please use the comment form below and I will get back to you. You can also get in touch with me on my Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. I'd love to hear from you!
Recommended equipment & ingredients*
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More custard tart recipes:
Egg Custard Tarts
For the pastry
- 120 g Butter cold, unsalted
- 200 g Plain flour
- 45 g Caster sugar
- 2 - 2 ½ tbsp Milk
For the filling
- 5 Egg yolks (from large eggs)
- 65 g Caster sugar
- 500 ml Whole milk
- 2 tsp Vanilla extract or the seeds from a vanilla pod
- Nutmeg for sprinkling
- To make the pastry put the plain flour and caster sugar in a mixing bowl and stir them together
- Add the butter in chunks and use your fingers to rub the butter into the flour mixture until it looks like breadcrumbs. You can also do this using a fork, or in a food processor
- Add the milk slowly (you may not need it all, or you may need a little more, as different flour brands absorb differently) and stir it into the mixture until it forms a dough. Shape it into a ball, but avoid kneading it. Wrap it in clingfilm and chill it in the fridge for 30 minutes
- Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 180C Fan/200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 and grease a muffin/cupcake tin with a little butter or baking spread. Add strips of baking paper to each cupcake hole so you can easily lift the tarts out once baked
- Roll out the pastry onto a floured work top. Keep the pastry moving as you roll it out so it doesn't stick, and add more flour to the surface and rolling pin as required
- Use an 4 inch (10cm) round cutter to cut out 12 circles of pastry, you may need to re-roll the pastry to get all 12
- Place the pastry rounds into the tin, use your fingers to gently shape the pastry to the holes in the tin, smoothing the sides down. Put into the fridge while you make the custard
- For the custard, heat up the whole milk and vanilla extract on a low heat until luke warm
- In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks and the caster sugar together until smooth
- Pour the warm milk into the egg mixture, continuously whisking as you pour. Then pour the mixture, through a fine sieve and into a jug
- Place the cupcake tin onto the oven shelf (you may need to support it with your hand in an oven glove), then pour the custard into the pastry cases using the jug. Fill up the cases as much as you can, then sprinkle the nutmeg over the top. Very slowly and carefully push the shelf into the oven, you do not want to spill the custard mixture over the sides of each tart
- Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 160C Fan/180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for the final 10 minutes. They are done when the custard starts to brown and blister on top, and the pastry looks golden around the edges and the custard has puffed up slightly (it will sink down as they cool)
- Take the tarts out of the oven and let them cool for 30 minutes in the tin. Then remove from the tin using the greaseproof paper strips to assist you. If any custard did spill over the edges you may need to run a knife around the sides too
- Store in the fridge and eat within 2 days