I based this delightful Custard Tart with Nutmeg on a recipe by Marcus Wareing. He prepared the tart for The Great British Menu. It was tocelebrate the 80th birthday of Her Majesty The Queen. Intrigued by the reference to his recipe, I decided to take a closer look. Marcus Wareing’s site showcased a particularly appealing version of the recipe. That prompted me to give it a try.
The recipe features a tender pastry crust filled with a rich, creamy custard, topped with a generous sprinkle of freshly grated nutmeg. During my recipe testing, I encountered a couple of issues. But they are addressed in my adapted version.
Blind Baking Issue
Firstly, Marcus instructs to blind bake the tart case for 10 minutes. There is no mention of further baking after removing the baking beans. However, merely baking for 10 minutes proved inadequate. Removing the parchment paper and ceramic beans after just 10 minutes resulted in a disaster. The pastry was essentially a raw mess with melted butter on top. While 10 minutes may be sufficient in a professional kitchen. Marcus works with a professional oven, of course. But domestic ovens seem to work differently. Therefore, my adaptation ensures success in a standard home oven.
Process for Custard Tart pastry case
The pastry, is quick and easy to make. Then chill it in the fridge for at least two hours. Roll it out and place it in an 18cm (7 inch) tart or cake pan with a removable bottom. The pan should be at least 5cm (2 inches) deep. Alternatively, a pastry ring of the same dimensions works well. Line the pastry case with parchment paper and fill it with baking beans, rice, lentils, or similar.
Bake the case at 170°C/340°F for 15 minutes. Remove the parchment paper and baking beans, then bake for an additional 8 minutes or until the base is fully baked. For added assurance, brush egg white over the case and return it to the oven for a couple of minutes to create a seal on the top of the pastry.
Making the Custard Tart
As the pastry case cools, it’s time to prepare the custard. Heat the double cream until almost boiling. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar until smooth, gradually pouring in the milk while whisking continuously. Strain the mixture to remove any lumps, then pour the custard into the tart case and sprinkle with grated nutmeg. Bake the tart until the custard is set, with just a slight wobble in the centre. While Marcus’s recipe suggests baking for 35 to 40 minutes, my experience required an additional 10 minutes for a total of 50 minutes to achieve the desired set custard.
Allow the tart to cool for at least an hour in the pan before removing and cooling completely before serving. My instant-read thermometer registered 72°C (164°F) in the centre, indicating the custard had set perfectly.
The ingredients list is concise, with the pastry requiring flour, sugar, butter, egg, salt, and a touch of lemon zest. The custard comprises cream, egg yolks, sugar, and nutmeg for grating. Optionally, adding a vanilla pod to the heating cream imparts a subtle vanilla flavour.
My Custard Tart
In summary, my blind-baked tart case spent 15 minutes in the oven, followed by another 8 minutes. I brushed egg white over the surface and baked for an additional minute or two. After filling the case with custard and adding nutmeg, the tart went into the oven. Despite Marcus’s suggested baking time of 35 minutes, I found an extra 15 minutes necessary for a set custard with a slight wobble in the centre.
I allowed my tart to cool in the pan for one hour before carefully transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely. The custard set perfectly, and the pastry was cooked, though an extra 2 minutes in the oven after removing the baking beans could enhance the bottom crust. The tart proved delicious, featuring a rich and silky smooth custard paired with a delightful buttery pastry. The nutmeg on top added a wonderfully mild spice flavour.
Another great recipe is Lemon Custard Tart Cake.
Custard Tart with NutmegCourse: Desserts, Pies, TartsCuisine: BritishDifficulty: Medium
225g(1 1/2 cups, based on scooping packed flour into a 250ml cup)plain flour
150g(10 tbsp+2 tsp) cold unsalted butter, cubed
75g(6 tbsp) caster sugar
1 medium egg(large in USA)
1 medium egg yolk(large in USA)
zest from one lemon
pinch of salt
egg white for brushing
500ml(2 cups + 4 tsp) double cream
9 medium egg yolks(large in USA)
75g(6 tbsp) caster sugar
two whole nutmegs, grated
- Place the butter and salt, along with the butter into a food processor and pulse until the mixture is like fine breadrcrumbs(you can do this by hand, rubbing in the butter.
- Add the sugar and pulse a few times.
- Add the yolk into the whole egg and beat them a little.
- Gradually add the beaten egg into the mixture, with the processor running, until the mixture clumps into a dough. You may not need all of the egg.
- Tip the dough out and form it into a ball, then wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 170C/340F.
- Place the dough onto a floured surface and roll out into a circle at least 32 cm(13 inches) in diameter.
- Place the pastry into a greased 18cm(7 inch) cake pan with a removable base(or a tart pan).
- Press the soft pastry carefully into the pan and leave any excess overhanging the rim.
- Place parchment paper into the tart case and fill it with baking beans(or rice, lentils etc).
- Blind-bake the pastry for 15 minutes the carefully remove the baking beans and parchment paper.
- The base of the pastry will be wet still, so place the pan back into the oven and back for about 8 minutes, or until the base is fully baked.
- Brush the surface of the tart case with beaten egg white and bake for a further minute or so, until the egg white is cooked and forms a seal over the pastry.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 130C/265F.
- As the tart case cools you can carefully trim any excess pasrty.
- Heat the cream until it is just about to boil.
- Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar, in a large bowl, until you have a nice smooth mixture.
- Whisking all the time gradually add the hot cream into the eggs.
- Pour the mixture through a sieve, into another bowl to remove any lumps that may have formed.
- Carefully pour the custard into the tart case to just below the rim.
- Dust the top with nutmeg, using as much as you wish.
- Carefully transfer the pan to the oven and bake for about 50 minutes, until the custard is just about set, with only the slightest wobble in the centre. If you have an instant read thermometer the temperature of the centre should be about 72C(164F).
- Leave the tart in the pan for about an hour, then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.