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Custard filling for tarts or pastries recipe

Custard filling for tarts or pastries recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Pies and tarts
  • Sweet pies and tarts
  • Custard tart

For variety, try stirring a teaspoon of cocoa powder, 400g of desiccated coconut or 3 sliced bananas to the filling just before refrigerating.

13 people made this

IngredientsServes: 16

  • 400g (14 oz) caster sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cornflour
  • 900ml (1 1/2 pints) semi skimmed milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

MethodPrep:5min ›Cook:10min ›Ready in:15min

  1. In a large saucepan, mix together the sugar, cornflour and 1 pint milk. If making chocolate, mix in cocoa powder. Bring to the boil and stir frequently until mixture thickens.
  2. Whisk together remaining milk with egg yolks. As filling thickens, add egg yolk mixture and stir frequently. Bring to the boil for 1 minute.
  3. Remove from heat, stir in butter and vanilla.
  4. Pour into baked pastry cases. Refrigerate until chilled. Top with fresh fruit.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(18)

Reviews in English (16)

This is far too sweet and it doesn't set when it's chilled. I don't understand why it calls for 400g of suagr?-11 Oct 2012


The eggs and milk part needs to be whisked before even turning on the heat because the mixture needs to be stirred CONSTANTLY (NOT "Frequently"!!!) It will burn if you stop stirring it even for a moment. It seems to be good other than that.-24 Jul 2008

by carolchill

The eggs and milk part needs to be whisked before even turning on the heat because the mixture needs to be stirred CONSTANTLY (NOT "Frequently"!!!) It will burn if you stop stirring it even for a moment. It seems to be good other than that.-13 Jan 2008

Egg Custard Pastries (Cheating Version of Egg tarts)

Egg tart is a very popular dessert in Hong Kong. People like to have a cup of milk tea (奶茶) along with one or two egg tarts for tea, feeling energy boosted up in heaven. My family and friends are big fans of this little angel. As for myself, I’m really addicted to eating the fragrant, silky egg custard inside the tart shells. Although making egg tarts is not difficult, I sometimes like to take a short cut and make some to ease my craving on the go. I might call this quick dessert as “Cheating Version of Egg tarts”.

  • 6 pieces Pampas’s filo pastry, at room temperature
  • 100ml whipping cream
  • 75ml milk, room temperature
  • 40gm caster sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 1/2 tsp cake flour, available at supermarkets or Asian grocery stores

  1. Prepare the filling: Use a sauce pan. Mix cream with milk, add sugar. Heat over low heat and cook until the sugar dissolves. Let cool completely. Stir in the egg yolks and flour. Combine thoroughly. Drain through a fine sieve. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 200C (395F).
  3. Carefully fold one end of the filo pastry to match the opposite end. Repeat and fold once more. Then you’ll get a 4-stack pastries as picture shown. Use a pair of scissors to cut along the folded lines. Then cut each stack into 4 equal squares. You should have 16 stacks of little square pastries.
  4. Line a muffin tray with the square pastries. My muffin tray only can bake 12, so I have to place more pastries for some tarts and use up all the pastries.
  5. Evenly pour the filling into the pastry shells. Carefully transfer into the preheated oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the pastry turns brown. Don’t leave them unattended while baking. If the egg custard puffs up, open the oven door a few inches. By doing this, the egg custard would not shrink too much once the pastry cools down. It’s normal that the filling shrinks a bit though.

Note: You might use the leftover egg whites to make some Almond Meringue.

***If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #christinesrecipes — We love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter.

Custard filling for tarts or pastries recipe - Recipes

This quick little recipe for Custard Filling for Fruit Tarts and Pies is really simple to make. You can use it in pastry pie shells as well as, graham cracker and shortbread crusts that you make or buy. Simply allow it to cool a little, spread it in the crust and pile on the fruit…. perfect for a quick throw together dessert.

As you can see from the picture I didn’t fill the crust with custard… my intent was to use a lot of fruit since it was so abundant when I made the pie. If you prefer more custard and less fruit, simply double the recipe.

I use whole milk for this recipe, I would recommend you stick to whole milk, but if you do use a lower fat milk, don’t go lower than 2%.. otherwise the thickness and creaminess of the filling won’t be as good.

Use a good quality vanilla extract for the best flavor.

This is one recipe that’s good to bookmark… comes in handy when you want to make a quick dessert.

Recipe: Custard Filling for Fruit Tarts and Pies

All you need:

2 Tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Pinch of salt
2 egg yolks, beaten
2 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla

In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and sugar using a wire whisk to completely mix the two.

In a small saucepan, add the sugar mixture, milk and salt, mix well with a wire whisk.

Add the beaten egg yolks and mix well with a wire whisk.

Heat the mixture over medium heat whisking constantly until the mixture begins to thicken. Do not leave unattended and make sure you whisk constantly. It will thicken quickly.

Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla.

Scoop custard into a heat proof bowl and allow to cool before spreading in a crust.

Recipe Summary

  • 2 cups milk
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ⅓ cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a heavy saucepan, stir together the milk and 1/4 cup of sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and egg. Stir together the remaining sugar and cornstarch then stir them into the egg until smooth. When the milk comes to a boil, drizzle it into the bowl in a thin stream while mixing so that you do not cook the eggs. Return the mixture to the saucepan, and slowly bring to a boil, stirring constantly so the eggs don' t curdle or scorch on the bottom.

When the mixture comes to a boil and thickens, remove from the heat. Stir in the butter and vanilla, mixing until the butter is completely blended in. Pour into a heat-proof container and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled before using.

Why is my egg custard watery?

There are many reasons why custard could turn into a watery, unusable (but not inedible) thing.

I can say that if you follow my instructions you shouldn’t run into the watery custard problem.

Here are a few reasons why egg custard might not set properly and be watery:

  1. The recipe and ratio of ingredients definitely can be the main reason.
  2. Custard made with whole eggs vs egg yolks might be more watery, because egg whites can thin it.
  3. Not using the correct amount of cornstarch may result in a egg custard that is not thick enough.
  4. Mixing the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch too far in advance may cause the custard to become watery when cooked.
  5. The amount of milk is too much and the custard can not thicken.
  6. Not cooking the custard long enough. This homemade pastry cream needs to be cooked until thickened and it should coat the back of the spatula you are stirring it with.
  7. Bubbles should start to appear in the custard when done, make sure you stir constantly.
  8. Then you cook for 1 extra minute after you get the desired thickness, stirring constantly so it does not burn.


  • Dough:
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, well beaten
  • Filling:
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg yolk, slightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon almond or orange extract
  • Egg Wash:
  • 1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons milk, for the egg wash

51 Responses to “Paul’s Egg Custard Tarts” Leave a comment

These sound delicious. I always love egg tarts ahile having dim sum in China town! Just a quick question – did you grease your baking tin beforehand? Thanks.

I generally don’t like to grease pans for pastry Carolynne just because it can make the pastry a bit soggy… if it’s well baked and cooled it should release okay. That said, it’s not a terrible idea if you have an old baking dish. I had one of my twelve stick a bit I think because of some old stuff on the pan! OOPS! Most of mine released okay though with no greasing.

Great, thank you very much!

No soggy bottoms there!
I too, have been bitten by the GBBO baking bug! Time to attempt tarts… and this recipe looks attemptable! Thank you!

Wow they look incredible and not as complicated as I was expecting.

Yum! I definitely want to try these out this weekend. I love the Great British Bakeoff and I actually just watched the Masterclass episode on these last night. Have you looked into the GBBO MasterClass episode yet? They’re fantastic. Your tarts look fantastic too!

I want to bake them because of the PBS
show As Time Goes By. He has to have
a supply of tarts at all time. You really
want them after watching that show!

Hi Diane! That’s the reason I started looking up this recipe. Did you try to make them? Did they turn out?

You said what I was going to say. Yep, As Time Goes By piqued my interest. Shall make a batch of these for our family Easter brunch.

I love Lionel and his penchant for egg custard tarts. Great show.

Me too! I have been looking for them in bakeries and stores ever since I watched As Time Goes By. I guess I will have to learn to bake them.

I’ve just started “binge watching” the way you have, one or two episodes as a time. I was watching it with my youngest and we had to stop, because she was “so hungry.” We’re going to make this recipe as a special request :)

LOL- Been binge watching as I recouperate from an illness back to back to back and just finished watching this very episode.
And I needed to get up and stretch, so did, came back and found this when looking for possibly Paul Hollywood’s recipe – or someone’s anyway – to make these for the first time.
I enjoyed your post very much, thank you for sharing!

Thanks Michele! Hope you are feeling better!

Ooh these are good! I actually made them in our caravan so used silicone tart cases. The pastry is definitely tricky to work with – I actually popped it in the freezer for 30 minutes instead of the fridge, then worked quickly. I rolled it between two lightly floured sheets of baking paper, which helped. I also just laid each cut piece gently over the cases and virtually let gravity sink it. Would definitely make these again, thank you.

Hi June….. did your silicone pans release the tart easily? Did you spray oil first

Believe it or not, my husband and I discovered GBBO last year. When we found the entire series on Netflix, we started watching from the beginning. There is also another series with just Paul and Mary, and they show how to properly do all the recipes that the amateur bakers were challenged with doing. Very interesting to watch one show of GBBO first, and then watch the related episode of “Masterclass: Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood”. When I saw Paul make his custard tarts, I just had to try them. Never made them before, and I love to bake.

I made those tarts today. It was quite a learning experience. For one thing, I found out that my oven runs hot, at least for these delicate custard tarts. I will bake them at 375 next time and rotate the pan midway. Secondly, I found out that I should not wait beyond 30 minutes cooling time before taking them out of the muffin tins. They will stick if allowed to cool completely. One thing I noted that one of the amateur bakers did when she did her tarts: She crisscrossed two strips of parchment paper in each of the twelve cups before putting in the dough so as to create 4 ‘handles’ to grab and pull out each tart. A slight pain in the neck to do, but it is well worth the effort. When I pulled one tart out after 30 minutes, it popped out cleanly and in one piece. I did do two without the parchment paper to see if I could take them out with a small indented spatula like Paul did when he made his, but the two tarts did not come out as well as the others. He obviously has a lot of practice…he stated in the Masterclass series that he did custard tarts by the dozens since he was 14 years old.

Thanks for sharing your baking experience. By the way, even though my tarts don’t look as pretty as Paul’s, they are still yummy!
Delia Bottoms

Parchment paper handles are an awesome idea! I’ve seen those before too, but am too lazy. Haha! Thanks for the comment Delia! Happy Baking!

Applying Heat: The Critical Steps for Thickening Pastry Cream

The success or failure of pastry cream hinges on sufficiently heating the custard base. The goal is to properly thicken the custard to achieve a consistency that is stiff, thick, and smooth, while remaining easy to pipe or spread. If the resulting pastry cream is too runny and loose, or overcooked and gritty, then we either fell short or overshot this essential step in the process.

Pastry cream relies on two thickeners—the starch and the eggs—working in tandem to thicken the custard. The steady application of heat serves as the catalyst for the processes of gelatinization for the starch and coagulation for the eggs.

When mixed with water (provided by the milk in this case) and heated to around 175°F, starch granules gelatinize, meaning they absorb and swell up with water, then leak out their starchy molecules, effectively thickening the custard base. While all of this is happening, the proteins in the yolks are denaturing, or unfolding and then coagulating, or bonding together, to form a strong, flexible network.

If gelatinization and coagulation were our only concerns, we could bring the pastry cream to 175°F and be done. Unfortunately, the yolks contain an enzyme called amylase, which can slowly break down the starch molecules and transform thick pastry cream into a runny sauce. The solution to this problem requires getting the pastry cream even hotter—to what we might describe as a "bubble," with the mixture at a temperature just shy of boiling. Holding the pastry cream at a bubble while whisking constantly for about a minute or so deactivates the amylase so that it's no longer a threat to the structure of the pastry cream.

Getting the egg-containing custard so hot may sound like we'd risk immediately scrambling the eggs, but several factors are on our side to prevent that from happening. First, the milk dilutes the egg proteins, so they're farther apart and less likely to rapidly and tightly bond. On top of that, both the starch and the sugar run additional interference to prevent the egg proteins from bonding. This means you can safely bring the pastry cream to a near boil while whisking for at least a minute without it overcooking.

And that brings me to one more very important point: I can't emphasize enough the need for constant attention and whisking. If you’re a multitasker in the kitchen, it’s best to set other tasks aside and focus all of your attention on the pastry cream. Don’t walk away or check your phone, and be sure to whisk, whisk, whisk. Whisking ensures that the pastry cream is evenly thickened and reduces the chance for lumps and scorched spots to develop.

What About Tempering?

When making the custard base, almost all pastry cream recipes reflexively call for tempering, which involves whisking hot milk into eggs to reduce the chances of ending up with scrambled eggs (keep in mind that this happens before the pastry cream is cooked to thicken it).

But you don't always need to temper when making pastry cream. It's only necessary if the milk needs to be heated first. For example, if you want to flavor the pastry cream by infusing the milk with something like the vanilla bean in this recipe, or the lemon zest in my lemon pastry cream, then tempering is necessary because the milk will have been heated during the infusion step.

However, if there’s no reason to preheat the milk, it’s perfectly okay to simply combine all of the pastry cream's ingredients while cold and heat them up together. For instance, in my chocolate pastry cream recipe, the pastry cream base is made without a tempering step, and then the chocolate is melted into the thickened custard while it’s still warm.

You can read more about the ins and outs of the tempering process in our article on the technique, but rest assured, we at Serious Eats will only ask you to go through that added step when it makes sense.

Easy Peasy Vanilla Croissants with Custard Filling

  • Author: Bake to the roots
  • Prep Time: 01:00
  • Cook Time: 00:25
  • Total Time: 03:00
  • Yield: 12 1 x
  • Category: Pastry
  • Cuisine: Germany


Easy croissant-like horns/crescents with yeast dough and vanilla custard filling. Almost too good to be true )


For the custard filling:
1/3 cup ( 40g ) cornstarch
2 tbsp . sugar
1 tsp . vanilla extract
13.5 fl. oz. (400ml) milk
1 medium egg
3.5 oz . ( 100g ) sour cream

For the dough:
4 1/4 cups ( 550g ) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup ( 100g ) sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 cup (240ml) lukewarm milk
0.8 oz . ( 21g ) fresh yeast
3.5 oz . ( 100g ) soft butter, in pieces
1/2 tsp . lemon zest (from organic lemon)
1 medium egg

some milk for brushing
2 – 3 tbsp. sliced almonds
confectioners’ sugar for dusting


1. Add the cornstarch, sugar, and vanilla extract for the vanilla custard to a small bowl and mix with 2-3 tablespoons of the milk. Add the remaining milk to a pot, mix in the egg, and then heat up slowly until the milk starts to boil. Add the cornstarch mixture while constantly mixing until the pudding starts to thicken. Remove from the heat, let cool down for about 10 minutes, then add the sour cream and mix in. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the pudding to prevent skin from developing, then let cool completely.

2. Add the flour for the dough, the sugar, and salt to a large bowl and mix to combine. Make a well in the center, pour in the lukewarm milk, crumble the yeast into small pieces and add to the milk. Mix a bit and then let sit for about 5 minutes. Add the butter, lemon zest, and egg and knead for about 6-7 minutes until you get a nice smooth and slightly sticky dough. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise in a warm place for about 45-60 minutes – it should almost double in size.

3. Knock the air out of the dough and divide into two equal pieces. Wrap one piece into plastic wrap and place in the fridge until needed. Divide the other dough piece into 6 equal portions and shape them into balls. On a floured surface, roll out each ball thinly into an oval with about 8ࡪ.7 inches (20x12cm) in length/width. Using a sharp knife, cut on one side of the dough oval several times into the dough and spread about 1-2 tablespoons of the custard filling on the opposite side. Fold the dough over the filling and roll up the croissant – the side with the cuts should facing upwards. Bend the tips slightly to the front to form the croissant. Place the croissants on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment with enough space in between. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rise for about 15-20 minutes.

4. While the croissants are rising a second time, preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Brush the risen croissants gently with milk, sprinkle with some sliced almonds, and then bake for about 25 minutes. The croissants should have puffed up nicely with a nice golden color. Remove from the oven and let cool down on a wire rack. While the first batch is in the oven, you can prepare the remaining croissants with the remaining dough from the fridge. Dust the vanilla croissants with some confectioners’ sugar before serving.

The origin of a Portuguese favorite

Remember those laundry-washing monks we mentioned earlier? Let’s go back to them for a second.

Said monks lived at the Jerónimos Monastery in Belém, a seaside neighborhood west of central Lisbon. It was common for them to use egg whites to starch their clothes when washing them, but they soon realized that they had a lot of leftover yolks to deal with.

So the monks did what most people had been doing with egg yolks in Portugal for ages: used them in baked goods. Soon, the first pastéis de nata were born.

The famous Jerónimos Monastery, where pastéis de nata originated. Photo credit: Sandra Henriques Gajjar

In 1820, the Liberal Revolution in Portugal cut off funding to religious institutions. In order to raise money to keep the monastery afloat, the monks began selling their pastries, which before long became a hit.

However, it wasn’t enough, and the monastery ended up closing anyway. When closing up shop, the monks sold their Portuguese custard tarts recipe to the local sugar refinery and called it a day.

Knowing that they had a winner on their hands, the owners of the sugar refinery opened their own bakery just down the street from the old monastery. The bakery is still there today, and if you’ve visited Lisbon, you may have even been there: the original Pastéis de Belém.

Pastéis de Belém: home of the original custard tart recipe. Photo credit: Dave Collier

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Watch the video: classic pastry cream - a perfect filling for tarts and pastries, as well alone with berries (August 2022).