Custard tart: the traditional English dessert
The custard tart
is regarded as one of Britain’s traditional dishes. It remained a favourite over the centuries and is just as popular today. Even the name has an ancient pedigree
- it is derived
from both the old French word for crust
(crouste), and the Anglo-Norman ‘crustarde’, which meant a tart or pie with a crust.
Custard tarts were popular during Medieval
times and records show that King Henry IV enjoyed them at his coronation
banquet in 1399.
Henry IV is not the only English monarch
with a liking for them. Called ‘doucets’ in the Middle Ages, they were equally popular at the court of Henry VIII. Henry VIII’s daughter, Queen Elizabeth I, who had a famously sweet tooth, also had a great liking for custard in pastry
. At her court, custard tarts grew to enormous sizes and had jesters prancing
around in the wobbly
mix. The mess must have been quite considerable!
Another Royal, Queen Elizabeth the II was also served custard tart as the dessert for her recent 80th birthday celebration.
Today, custard tarts are usually made from short crust pastry, eggs, sugar, milk or cream, and vanilla
and baked. However, in King Henry’s day they could have included ingredients such as pork mince
or beef marrow
, but they were always filled with a sweet custard.
To make them a special treat they can be topped with fresh strawberries or raspberries
. In the past they were much richer, and more fattening. Almond
milk and honey was often added—much too sweet for today’s tastes.
The custard tart is a lovely treat to come home to and goes wonderfully with a cup of Earl Grey tea. You just can’t get more English than that.
Earl Grey tea 格雷伯爵茶，以查尔斯•格雷伯爵命名的混合型调味茶