Old Fashioned Egg Custard Tarts
Old Fashioned Egg Custard Tarts (or egg custards) are a classic British pastry that are simply a homemade, flaky pastry filled with egg, custard, a sprinkling of nutmeg and then baked.
A wonderful home baked treat that is a great use for any eggs that may be expiring, eggs you just need to use up or your eggs came home broken from grocery shopping.
Interestingly, I recently learned that these tarts are also popular in China and Portugal. There is an age old debate as to who invented them first. But being British, of course, I like to say the Brits came up with this delicious treat because they’ve been around since the medieval times and that’s good enough for me!
Different custard types
There are 2 different custard types, baked and stirred, baked custards are typically firmer than stirred and (like this recipe) are baked in the oven and set from the heat. Common examples of baked custards are crème caramel (also known as flan), crème brûlée, cheesecake, bread pudding, pot de crème, quiche and savory flans.
Stirred custards, such as the one I use in Rhubarb and Custard Spring Orange Custard and Hot English Custard Over Frozen Berries are typically soft and most often have a pourable consistency; however, depending on the ingredients used, they can also be quite thick (tart filling). Once made, stirred custards are also often combined with other ingredients to form a variety of other desserts and to create unique flavors and fillings.
All custards contain the same basic ingredients: eggs and/or egg yolks, a liquid and flavorings. Depending on the type of custard, some may also require a starch.
Over time, they have become a popular ‘grab-and-go’ dessert that are sold in bakeries and grocery stores in the UK.
This recipe is a traditional, family recipe from my childhood in England when my mum would make a Sunday afternoon tea of finger sandwiches and these must-have pastries.
Vanilla in custard
Custard flavors can be customized by adding citrus or extract. Vanilla being the most popular flavor to add to custards, you will see that I list it as optional in the recipe as I don’t normally add it to this recipe as the nutmeg is the dominant flavor. You can add vanilla if you like.
Custard is a very popular dessert in the British isles and not only comes in the form of tarts, but is also served as a hot sauce called ‘English Custard’ which is served over sweet pies, puddings and another classic, Rhubarb and Custard.
A popular and modern twist on this recipe is to serve just the custard that is baked in small ramekins without any pastry. This would be perfect for a low carb/keto treat.
I choose to make these in individual sizes because I love the crust edge. But this recipe is customizable because you can also make it into a larger 9-inch (23 cm) tart. Bake at 400°F/200°C for 20 minutes then turn the oven down to 350°F/176°C (if you see it browning too soon, turn it down sooner) then bake for a further 10 minutes until the pasty is browned and the custard is set but will still have a slight wobble in the center. This will firm when it is cool. Times are estimated and will depend on your oven.
The mini tart pans/molds that I used are fluted, which give them a pretty presentation and measure 2 3/4” (7cm) wide by 3/4” (2cm) high. If you use molds that are deeper, you will run out of filling as the recipe yields just enough for this specified size.
How long do custard tarts keep?
They will keep up to 3 days refrigerated in a sealed container.
You can freeze them, individually wrapped. The custard may separate and the moisture may make the pastry a little soggy.
If you’ve made these Old Fashioned Egg Custard Tarts, please feel free to leave a comment below. You can also ask a question there too, I love to hear from my readers!
25 Comments on “Old Fashioned Egg Custard Tarts”
my pastry didn’t turn out how I wanted it to but that was user error, I’m suspicious about the lack of vanilla but excited about trying them!
I make this all the time and thought it was time to leave a review. Please do use creamy Irish butter and irish cheddar, they make all the difference
Right? Thank you so much
Any suggestions/tips on the pastry? It didn’t really keep the nice krinkle shape of the side of the tart pan. I did refrigerate the dough!
I’m not sure why. Did you press the edges of the pastry firmly into the flutes of the tart pan?
I realized now your pastry cutter had flutted edges and mine was just a circle. I think this greatly enhances the look. Will get a new cutter for the pastry! Tasted delicious regardless. Highly recommend grating your own fresh nutmeg, which I did at the recommendation of my Brit co-worker. Game. Changer. Thanks for the recipe!
Freshly grated nutmeg really is the best.
After baking, how long should you let it cool before refrigerating ?
Cool them just to room temperature. Enjoy.
My niece broke about a dozen eggs, luckily the yolks were salvageable but I needed to immediately use them. Came across your recipe, tried it, and even with my limited baking skills and a 2 year-old helper, the tarts came out perfect! I will definitely make again.
That sounds like a happy accident 😄 I’m glad you enjoyed them.
My English grandad loved a good custard tart. We also used to have baked custard as a desert that my English Mum made , like u say with no pastry, just in a large baking dish…it was so yum . Want to try your recipe. TY.
Thank you for sharing your stories. I hope you enjoy the tarts.
How long will they keep in an airtight container and will they freeze. Thank you
The tarts will stay fresh in a sealed container, refrigerated for up to 3 days. You can freeze them, but the custard may separate and make the pastry soggy.
How much time do I have to heat the milk? it doesn’t say.
I’ve edited the text to make it read better, I hope this helps. Enjoy 🙂
Can’t wait to try these
I can’t wait for you to try them as well 🙂
So good! Creamy and delicate with the right amount of sweetness and the pastry is easy to make and lovely and flaky. Will make again.
Wonderful! Thank you for the feedback.
Does the cooking time different with one large tart? Thank you.
I haven’t tested the recipe in a larger form, but I would say it may only take a little longer. You can watch it and you will know it is ready if you give it a slight shake and it has a slight wobble. I hope this helps and let me know if you have any other questions, enjoy.
So good. I made them for family dinner and they didn’t last long. Think I’ll make them for the holidays
I’m so glad, they’re perfect for the holidays.