Nonna Anna’s Custard Tarte


This will serve a lovely family of six or eight. For the flavoured custard filling so mouthwateringly delicious, you will need;

  1.        full fat milk – 700 ml. It should be full fat to get the creaminess
  2.        zest of an unwaxed lemon – organic as well if you can
  3.         90g of caster sugar
  4.         5 egg yolks. Freshly collected from your hens that morning.
  5.          70g plain flour
  6.          15g butter – unsalted is best
  7.          For the shortcrust pastry which will crumble and melt on your tongue
  8.          180g cold butter, cubed and unsalted as before
  9.          170g caster sugar – yes a lot but just cut a small slice when cooked
  10.          400 hundred grams of plain flour
  11.          8g baking powder – to help your flour rise
  12.          1/2 teaspoon salt – but only if you have to
  13.        vanilla extract – just a touch 
  14.          2 egg yolks – again from those lovely hens in the garden
  15.          1 egg – so not ideal if you have high cholesterol, but just take a small slice
  16.          some juice and zest from another organic lemon

A wonderful Italian treat on a lazy Sunday afternoon

For the super duper custard filling:

1.    A strong bottom saucepan is needed which over medium heat you should mix the milk with the lemon rind and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat when the boiling point is reached but before the milk has an awful skin and strain through a fine sieve; set aside.

2.      Then grab your egg yolks. Whisk them to within an inch of their life and they are pale and frothy. Add sugar and flour ( both sieved of course ) then gently add in the heated milk, a little at the time so you wont have any lumps to get rid of. I like to use a whisk to stop this.

3.      Throw all of this into your saucepan again and place over a medium heat. As always stir; stir and stir again, until the mixture thickens, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and gentle add the butter. When finished, place a sheet of baking paper directly over the custard to prevent a typical yellow skin forming.

Its all about the pastry

For the shortcrust base

4.      In a bowl add butter and sugar and mix with your fingertips. Then drop in vanilla extract, baking powder, salt and sifted flour. Give it a good stir. Next is the lemon rind or zest; the whole egg and the 2 egg yolks. Use your hands to knead quickly to make a pastry ball. Cover in cling film and pop in the fridge for 30 minutes.

5.     Oven should be either 180 C / Gas 4. Line a quiche or tart tin with baking parchment.

6.      Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll into a shape so it fits into the quiche tin and press gently and firmly into the base and over to the sides. Prick the bottom with a fork. Then the best bit, pour in the custard. There should be some pastry left; enough to cover the top and this will encase the wonderful custard mixture whilst it cooks.

To decorate:

7.      Toast some pine nuts and then add them to the top before cooking. Also desiccated coconut works a treat. Or stick to some finely sprinkled icing sugar. Its your choice.

8.      Then its into the oven for 45 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Remove from the oven, allow to cool . Cut into slices and serve still warm…..


Its simply wonderful serving with some fresh raspberries and cream and a very nice chilled white wine. Hic Hic – ENJOY!

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