Gypsy Tart

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Gypsy Tart is a dessert that used to be served, as I remember, as part of our school dinners, in the 1960s.  It seems that this tart originated in Kent, a county in the South East of England. 

Consisting of only shortcrust pastry and two other ingredients it is the sort of thing that anyone can try, particularly if they use ready made pastry, or pastry cases.

I always like to make my own pastry, particularly shortcrust, since I seem to have hit on a method that turns out very well time after time.

The only other ingredients evaporated milk(though some people use condensed milk, though this would make it even sweeeter) and dark muscovado sugar.  This sugar has a distinct molasses flavour and comes from the juice of sugar cane and is produced by evaporation until crystalisation occurs.

The resultant tart is a nice short pastry and a mousse-like filling which is very sweet and the distinct caramel and molasses flavour.

The recipe below actually makes twice as much pastry as is needed to line a 23cm tart tin.  So the other half can be frozen, for at least a couple of months, and used at a later date.  The filling mixture also makes more than needed to fill my tart tin.  But to some extent that depends on the depth of the tin.  Mine is only 2.5cm deep, and some are at least 1cm deeper.  But I just poured the extra mixture into a small ovenproof dish and cooked it as well.

My tart turned out very well, thankfully and tastes delicious.  It should be served cold and I would suggest adding some fruit compote, such as raspberry, to add a touch of tartness.

Gypsy Tart

For the pastry:

  • 350 gplain flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 30 g granulated white sugar
  • 226 g unsalted butter, chilled, and cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) pieces
  • 60 – 120 ml ice water

For the filling:

  • 400g evaporated milk
  • 340g dark muscovado sugar
  1. Place one tin of evaporated milk into the fridge to chill for several hours.
  2. In a food processor, place the flour, salt, and sugar and process until combined. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal (about 15 seconds).
  3. Pour 60 ml water in a slow, steady, stream through the feed tube until the dough just holds together when pinched. If necessary, add more water. Do not process more than 30 seconds.
  4. Turn the dough onto your work surface and gather into a ball.
  5. Divide the dough in half, flattening each half into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about one hour before using. Since the recipe makes twice as much pastry as needed one of the discs can be frozen to use later.
  6. After the dough has chilled sufficiently, remove from the fridge and place it on a lightly floured surface. 
  7. Roll the pastry into a 12 inch (30 cm) circle. (To prevent the pastry from sticking to the counter and to ensure uniform thickness, keep lifting up and turning the pastry a quarter turn as you roll (always roll from the centre of the pastry outwards).) 
  8. Fold the dough in half and gently transfer to a 9 inch (23 cm) pie pan. Brush off any excess flour and trim the edges of the pastry to fit the pie pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  9. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/400F.
  10. Remove the pastry from the fridge and prick all over with a fork.
  11. Line the pastry with parchment paper and fill with baking beans(or rice).
  12. Blind bake the pastry for 15 minutes.
  13. Remove from the oven and empty the beans and paper.
  14. Replace the pastry in the oven for 5-10 minutes to finish cooking the base completely.
  15. Remove the pastry from the oven and allow to cool.
  16. Place the sugar and evaporated milk into a stand mixer and whisk for at least 15 minutes, until it is light, frothy and thickened.
  17. Pour the filling into the pastry case until it is just below the rim.
  18. Place the filled pastry case in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, until cooked and slightly tacky to the touch.
  19. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin, completely, before placing in the fridge.
  20. Serve cold.

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