How to Make a Classic English Custard Tart with Nutmeg and a Shortcrust Pastry?

You may have come across a delightful custard tart in a bakery or restaurant and wondered, "How can I recreate this at home?" Well, you are in the right place. This article will walk you through a detailed, step-by-step guide on how to make a classic English custard tart with nutmeg and a shortcrust pastry. From the ingredients you’ll need, to the baking process, we will cover everything you need to know. So, grab your apron and let’s get started!

Gathering Your Ingredients

Bringing a custard tart to life requires a selection of simple, yet essential ingredients. This section will guide you on what you need in order to bake this classic dessert.

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To make the shortcrust pastry, you will need:

  • 225g of plain flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 130g of unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons of cold water

For the custard filling, gather:

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  • 3 large eggs, plus 2 yolks
  • 85g of caster sugar
  • 450ml of heavy cream
  • 200ml of full-fat milk
  • Half a nutmeg, freshly grated

Ensure all your ingredients are fresh and of high quality to create the most delicious tart. Now, let’s move on to creating the pastry.

Preparing the Shortcrust Pastry

Making your own shortcrust pastry may seem daunting, but with the right guidance, it’s a straightforward process. Here’s how to make this buttery and flaky base for your custard tart.

Start by sifting the plain flour into a large bowl, then add the pinch of salt. Cut the unsalted butter into small cubes, add it to the bowl and start rubbing it into the flour using your fingertips. Continue this process until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Next, add the cold water, starting with just one tablespoon. Use your hands to bring the dough together, adding more water if necessary. Once a firm dough has formed, wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to rest.

Baking the Pastry in the Oven

Once your dough has rested, it’s time to get it in the oven. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius and lightly butter a 23cm tart pan.

Roll out your dough on a lightly floured surface until it’s about 3mm thick. Carefully lift the dough and line your buttered pan with it, trimming any excess. Prick the base with a fork and line it with baking paper and baking beans.

Bake the pastry for about 15 minutes, then remove the beans and paper and bake for another 10 minutes until golden. Let it cool while you prepare the custard filling.

Making the Creamy Custard Filling

The star of the show is, of course, the creamy custard filling. This section will guide you through how to create a smooth, rich custard with a hint of nutmeg.

Begin by whisking the eggs, yolks and sugar together in a bowl until well combined. In a pan, heat the cream and milk until steaming but not boiling. Gradually add this to the egg mixture, whisking constantly to avoid scrambling the eggs. Finally, grate in half a nutmeg and stir well.

Filling and Baking the Tart

With your pastry base ready and your custard prepared, it’s now time to unite these two elements and bake your tart.

Lower your oven temperature to 160 degrees Celsius. Place your pastry base on a baking sheet and pour the custard mixture into the base until nearly full. Carefully transfer this to the oven and bake for about 40-45 minutes, until the custard is set, but still wobbly in the middle.

Remove the tart from the oven and let it cool completely. This allows the custard to fully set and the flavors to develop. Your classic English custard tart with nutmeg and a shortcrust pastry is now ready to enjoy! Grab a fork and savor the fruits of your labor.

Tips and Tricks for a Perfect Custard Tart

If you want to make your custard tart truly outstanding, here are a few tips and tricks you might find helpful. Remember, baking is both a science and an art, and even the smallest details can make a big difference.

Firstly, when making the shortcrust pastry, ensure the butter is cold and the water is ice cold. This will prevent the butter from melting too quickly, which can result in a harder pastry. The objective is for the butter to melt while baking, creating small pockets of air and hence a flaky, tender crust.

Secondly, when it comes to the custard filling, patience is key. Be sure to heat the cream and milk slowly and avoid bringing them to a boil. Overheating the cream milk could lead to a grainy custard. When you pour the custard mixture into the pastry case, do so slowly to avoid creating bubbles that could cause the custard to split while baking.

Lastly, when baking the tart, remember to keep a close eye on your oven. Baking times may vary depending on your oven’s accuracy and efficiency. The perfect custard tart will have just a slight wobble in the centre when gently shaken – this indicates that the custard has set properly.

Conclusion: Enjoy Your Homemade English Custard Tart

After following this guide, you should now have a deliciously creamy, homemade English custard tart with a hint of nutmeg and a flaky shortcrust pastry base. This classic dessert is sure to impress your friends and family, and it’s also a great treat to enjoy by yourself with a cup of tea.

A few tips to enhance your custard tart experience: If you prefer a sweeter dessert, consider dusting the top of the tart with a little caster sugar and caramelizing it with a kitchen torch just before serving. You could also add a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream for extra indulgence.

The beauty of this tart recipe is that you can customize it to your own taste. Maybe you’d like to add some vanilla extract to the custard filling or sprinkle some cinnamon on top. The possibilities are endless.

Remember, baking is all about enjoying the process and the fruits of your labor. So, take your time, follow the steps carefully, and most importantly, have fun. Nothing beats the satisfaction of successfully creating a delicious dessert from scratch. So, grab your tart pan and let’s bake!