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English Custard Tarts

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The memory of silky English egg custard tarts linger forever from our trips to England. I have tried my hand at these, but they never seem satisfactory.

Some questions:

Is regular pie pastry used? My recipe calls for lard and butter, and always turns out flaky for other pies and tarts.

Should the pastry be baked half thru' before the custard is added? The recipe I used last night said to brush the shell with beaten egg then baked at 375 for 20 minutes before adding the filling.

Can whole milk be used for half of the full cream a recipe calls for? I used half whole milk and it appears to have "separated" - a layer of beautiful smooth custard and one that looks more like steam eggs...

The recipe calls for grated nutmeg from TWO whole nutmeg. I only used half of what I collected and found it to still be too much. Would any other spice work in this sweet treat?

Does anyone have a traditional recipe to share? Please feed my craving!

English Custard Pie1640.jpg

Custard Tart Bite1641.jpg



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I pre-bake the custard shells for 10 minutes - and I sprinkle the bottoms lightly with superfine (caster in the UK) sugar.

It is important to remove the tarts from the oven just after the filling has "domed" and is still a bit jiggly. Same with a custard pie.

Cooking too long is what makes the custard tough.

And I use half & half instead of regular milk. It is more stable when heated.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett


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  • 2 weeks later...

They are pretty much the same as Hong Kong egg tarts (not the Macao style - although they are differently wonderful).

A ziliion recipes on that interweb thing.

I love both the Hong Kong egg tarts and English custard tarts...way too much.

There is, however, a difference between them to my taste.

The English one is denser? Creamier? More like the texture of creme brulee, as one blogger suggested. I think the non-homogenized milk in England made the difference when we ate them there.

Vive la différence, I say!



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