How to make custard tart from scratch

19 Jan



Merle Parrish is a legend in Australian baking circles – not only has she been baking [and winning] at country shows since a teenager but she has endeared herself as a judge on MasterChef Australia.

I received a copy of Merle’s Country Show Baking And Other Favourites in my day job as a journalist at The Leader newspaper, where I review cookbooks as part of My Hungry column.

I instantly loved the book as it is crammed full of nostalgic baking recipes.

The custard tart appealed as it is the Hungry Dad’s very favourite sweet treat. He is such a custard fancier that when we wee planning our wedding more than a decade ago he wanted to eschew cake in favour of custard. I declined.

Back to the recipe… Merle makes her pantry the old-fashioned way by hand but I cheated and pulled out my trusty KitchenAid food processor and made it that way. Purists would be shocked but it did the trick 🙂




1 ¼ cups plain flour

1 tablespoon icing sugar

90g chopped cold butter

2 tablespoons chilled water


4 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup caster sugar

1 ½ cups milk




Place icing sugar and plain flour in bowl of food processor and whiz for a few seconds. Add butter and mix until it looks like fine breadcrumbs, then add iced water and whiz until combined.

Between two sheets of baking paper roll out to line a pie dish (18cm and three cup capacity). Push gently up the sides then chill for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 180C, line pastry with baking paper and fill with dried rice. Bake for 15 minutes, then carefully remove rice and paper and bake for another 10 minutes.

At this point Merle suggests brush pastry with egg white but I skipped this step, with no apparent misfortune.

Bake for another five minutes, until lightly golden, then cool completely.

To make filling whisk eggs, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl.

Heat milk in small pan until it just comes to the boil then pour onto the egg mixture stirring constantly [do not whisk or it will become very frothy].

Place pie dish on baking tray then carefully pour egg mixture into pastry shell.

Sprinkle with nutmeg then bake for between 35-40 minutes – tart should be just set in centre yet have a slight wobble.



55 Responses to “How to make custard tart from scratch”

  1. Jhuls January 19, 2014 at 12:13 pm #

    I love anything custard and this tart looks so delicious!! ❤

  2. tastytreats13 January 19, 2014 at 3:46 pm #

    That looks so tasty! How delicious!

    • thehungrymum January 19, 2014 at 10:35 pm #

      thanks! The Hungry Dad ate half in one sitting so it must have been good 😉

  3. Ada ~ More Food, Please January 19, 2014 at 9:59 pm #

    Yum! This custard tart looks amazing!

  4. gottagetbaked January 19, 2014 at 11:32 pm #

    I love that the Hungry Dad wanted custard instead of cake for the wedding! You guys could’ve compromised and had both, or custard in the cake. Yummmmm….maybe time for renewal of the vows so that you can do that? 😉 Your custard tart looks delicious! I totally would’ve made it in the food processor too. My arms are weak as limp noodles!

    • thehungrymum January 20, 2014 at 4:04 am #

      Glad to see I’m not the only one who appreciates a short cut in the kitchen 🙂 Funnily enough we did just have our ten year vow renewal in Hawaii but there was no cake or custard to be seen – just beautiful modern Japanese food. Maybe custard for our 20 year vow renewal 🙂

  5. Evelyne@cheapethniceatz January 20, 2014 at 1:18 am #

    Fabulous custard tart, nothing beats homemade custard like this. Sounds like a great book.

    • thehungrymum January 20, 2014 at 4:01 am #

      Thanks 🙂 I’m all about the home-made & often think how hard it would have been fifty years ago when kitchens didn’t have mod cons.

    • thehungrymum January 27, 2014 at 8:08 am #

      Thanks! Homemade is always best 🙂 Cheers for stopping by.

  6. Liz January 20, 2014 at 1:22 am #

    Beautiful! Like how it has the browned spots on top. And what a fun tablecloth. Sounds like an amazing cookbook, too 🙂

    • Liz January 20, 2014 at 1:34 am #

      p.s. Love that you’re a professional food writer 😀

      • thehungrymum January 20, 2014 at 8:46 am #

        ooooh, I wish I was a professional food writer 🙂 Am a newspaper journo & my ed allows me to have a weekly column called The Hungry Mum. Am very lucky 🙂

    • thehungrymum January 20, 2014 at 8:47 am #

      Thanks! The brown bits make it look a bit rustic 😉

  7. ohlidia January 20, 2014 at 2:29 am #

    Oh, give me custard anything and you will make me happy! That is one pretty tart!

    • thehungrymum January 20, 2014 at 9:26 am #

      Custard is a taste like no other 🙂 Thanks for your sweet words.

  8. kathryningrid January 20, 2014 at 5:27 am #

    There’s hardly anything I love more than a good custard. Deeeeeee-licious!

    • thehungrymum January 21, 2014 at 2:38 am #

      Custard is goooood! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  9. Tandy | Lavender and Lime January 20, 2014 at 9:28 am #

    We are busy watching MasterChef All Stars 2012 at the moment – and she is a wonderful person. I am going to add this to my to do list for this year 🙂

    • thehungrymum January 20, 2014 at 11:29 pm #

      Isn’t she lovely? That don’t make ’em like that any more. I hope you do get a chance to make this tart.

  10. Butter, Basil and Breadcrumbs January 20, 2014 at 7:03 pm #

    I had to laugh when you said.. “I cheated and pulled out my trusty KitchenAid food processor and made it that way. Purists would be shocked but it did the trick” That is totally something I would say and do!! This looks so delicious.. 🙂

    • thehungrymum January 20, 2014 at 11:28 pm #

      Thanks! I tell you, if I didn’t have my KitchenAid mixer & processor I doubt I would bake. Lord only knows how people survived before their invention 🙂

      • Butter, Basil and Breadcrumbs January 22, 2014 at 8:56 pm #

        You Are not kidding!! My family would go hungry for sure! Or tire of eating carrots everyday… 🙂

  11. lizzie @ strayedtable January 21, 2014 at 1:20 am #

    OMG I am craving this right now. I am definitely going to have to make this, I have a soft spot for a good custard tart and yours looks easy to make.

    • thehungrymum January 21, 2014 at 2:30 am #

      Thanks! It is super easy to make – you can even make the pastry the day before to save time. Cheers for the sweet words 🙂

  12. Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen January 21, 2014 at 4:53 am #

    She sounds like the Martha Stewart of Australia. How lucky you are to have a job where cookbooks come to you!!

    • thehungrymum January 21, 2014 at 6:39 am #

      She’s more like the fairy godmother of fruit cakes & scones 🙂 I do have a great job & am very lucky to get do what I love 🙂

  13. lemongrovecakediaries January 21, 2014 at 8:49 am #

    I love Merle she was awesome on Master Chef. I will have to look out for her book – this recipe looks delicious!

  14. Tara Moran January 21, 2014 at 8:51 am #

    mmm my favourite!! thanks for the recipe, will def try that out!

  15. themondaybox January 21, 2014 at 4:52 pm #

    I adore custard. The creamy smoothness (especially when warm) is pure comfort food! 🙂 Your tart looks lovely!
    p.s. I would have gone with a wedding custard over a wedding cake had I thought of it!

    • thehungrymum January 22, 2014 at 6:01 am #

      Yes – warm custard is food of the gods 🙂 Am thinking that there is a huge market for wedding custard – the Hungry Dad will be most impressed 🙂

  16. Fig & Quince January 21, 2014 at 10:58 pm #

    love the custard and am crazy for the little berry table cloth!

    • thehungrymum January 22, 2014 at 5:58 am #

      Thanks! Thinking of asking my mum to turn that berry fabric into a skirt for Miss8 – it is very cute 🙂

  17. January 23, 2014 at 8:52 pm #

    What fun to review cookbooks! Your tart looks delicious 🙂

    • thehungrymum January 24, 2014 at 6:50 am #

      I love reviewing cookbooks – is interesting to see what many of these celebrity chefs consider to be a ‘quick & easy’ meal 🙂

  18. Michael's Woodcraft January 24, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

    …MMM oh wow, that looks so delicious! I love custard pie and could eat several slices of your pie right now! I am going to try your recipe soon, . I made Crème Brûlée last night, it is so good!

    I enjoyed visiting your site, great recipes and good pictures! Visit my site if you get a chance, check out my Crème Brûlée recipe.

    Michael 🙂

    • thehungrymum January 27, 2014 at 8:08 am #

      Creme brulee! Yes please! Have never attempted to make it but you may have just inspired me 🙂

  19. cookies and roses January 24, 2014 at 3:25 pm #

    great recipe, it looks delicious!

  20. January 25, 2014 at 8:16 am #

    Thanks for the heads-up on Merle. I had never heard of her before, but I’m always on the lookout for new cookbooks! It’s amazing how versatile the custard filling recipe is (eggs and sugar mixed together, then gradually added to the hot milk). This is the recipe used to make ice cream and I just used this technique to make chocolate icing. Whoo hoo!

    • thehungrymum January 27, 2014 at 8:06 am #

      The book is great – plenty of baking classic recipes. Merle is fab 🙂 Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  21. Paula @ Vintage Kitchen Notes January 25, 2014 at 9:29 am #

    I love custard too, and I completely understand hungry man! And in pie form has particularly appealed to me, but I’ve never tried it yet! This recipe is the perfect one to start.

    • thehungrymum January 27, 2014 at 8:00 am #

      Custard in pie form is great – a mobile dessert! You must ensure it still has a bit of wobble so it doesn’t lose that custard vibe 🙂

  22. fabliss January 27, 2014 at 6:30 am #

    i love custard! looking forward to making this!!

    • thehungrymum January 27, 2014 at 7:35 am #

      Me too! Thanks – hope you get a chance to make it 🙂

  23. phylliskirigin January 27, 2014 at 5:24 pm #

    Looks delicious and easy.

  24. LFFL February 3, 2014 at 12:49 am #

    Looks wonderful.

    • thehungrymum February 3, 2014 at 3:37 am #

      Thanks! It vanished very quickly so I think it can be described as wonderful 🙂

  25. Sophie33 February 9, 2014 at 10:02 am #

    I made your divine home-made custrad tart & loved it so much! I am a real custard lover too! 😉 xxx

  26. girlinafoodfrenzy February 16, 2014 at 9:20 am #

    I heart those custard tarts! I always do a funny trick which the Chinese use (their yum cha ones) are always flakey. Nonetheless who ever said no to a good short crust case 😉

    • thehungrymum February 17, 2014 at 6:38 am #

      oooh, the Hungry Dad is such a fan of the custard tarts at yum cha 🙂 I wouldn’t even attempt such a flaky pastry [looks far too hard!]

      • girlinafoodfrenzy February 17, 2014 at 9:36 pm #

        The secret is it’s a rough puff pastry…made with lard so it’s like super short! We’ll have to have a cooking marathon & try it sometime! I love those tarts!

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