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.

Small egg custard tarts on a presentation board with fresh lavender and berries for garnish

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 bite taken out of a custard tart

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.

Can you freeze custard tarts?

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!

Yield: 12

Old Fashioned Egg Custard Tarts

3 egg custard tarts viewed from overhead with fresh lavender flowers, raspberries and blueberries

Creamy egg custard baked inside delicious, flaky pastry cups.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes


  • For the pastry:
  • 1 ½ cups (180g) all-purpose/plain flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (120g) unsalted butter, cold
  • 2 tablespoons (25g) granulated/caster sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • For the custard:
  • 1 ½ cups (350 ml) whole/full fat milk
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • ¼ cup (45 grams) granulated/caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)


  1. For the pastry:
    To a mixing bowl, add the flour, salt and butter. Rub the butter between your fingers, incorporating the dough until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar, egg yolk and 2 teaspoons water. Mix until the dough comes together in a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C.
  3. For the custard:
  4. Add the milk to a saucepan over medium heat. Just heat until it starts to lightly simmer, do not boil. Turn off the heat.
  5. To a mixing bowl, vigorously whisk (or use a hand blender) the egg yolks and sugar until pale and bubbly. Remove the milk from the heat and very slowly drizzle into the egg yolks while whisking. Whisk in the vanilla if using. Transfer the mix to a container with a spout.
  6. Rub softened butter inside 12, 2 ¾" (7cm) fluted tart molds and place onto a large baking sheet.
  7. When the dough is chilled, roll out onto a floured surface. Use a round, fluted cookie cutter and cut circles. Place each circle in the molds and press to fit. Carefully fill each tart shell with the cutard and add a light sprinkling of grated nutmeg over each.
  8. Bake for 10-15 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 350°F/180°C for further 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them the first 10 minutes. You will see the filling start to rise, if it starts to rise up too much, turn down the heat. If not, they will rise too much and the custard will deflate and sink when cooled.
  9. If baking 1 large 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.
  10. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 205Total Fat 16gSaturated Fat 9gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 171mgSodium 188mgCarbohydrates 10gFiber 0gSugar 2gProtein 6g

This nutrition calculation is provided by Nutronix that is only a guideline and not intended for any particular diet.