Apple and custard tart

This apple and custard tart has become the dessert I want to eat before I die and may I have the whole tart please.  If the thought of making pastry from scratch may put you off making this tart use ready made because nothing should stop you from making this.

I wanted the more delicate English custard crème Anglaise and not the easier but heavier flourier crème pâtissière.  I was after the British tradition of apples and custard in a tart form, aiming for the custard to be just set and still have great deal of wobble. For this reason the recipe relies on the fatness of the cream and a little cornflour (cornstarch) to keep it in place.

The apple puree can be made the day before.  The tart once made will keep very well until the next day but should be served at room temperature to have the full taste and delicate consistency of the custard.  Fridge cold custard is not quite as wobbly.  Leave it out of the fridge at least 2hrs before serving.


To make the tart

Cook the apples down, adding 2 tablespoons of water to get them started and stopping them from burning on the bottom.  Cover the pan with a lid and put it on a low to medium heat.  Stir the apples a couple of times to prevent the bottom from catching.

Once the apples have broken down, take the lid off and on low heat keep cooking them for another 10-15 minutes to drive away excess water.  This is important otherwise you’ll have too much water in the pastry and the apple puree won’t be thick enough to cut through neatly into slices.

If the puree looks like this one below it’s too watery.  It should be stiff and not floppy.  It should hold up its weight not spread out.

Put it back in the pan and cook further on low heat, lid off, stirring a few times, until it appears thicker and much drier.

Keep cooking on low heat and stir now and again

…to prevent it from burning.

After 10-15mins the excess water will evaporate and the puree be stiffer.

For recipe and direction on how to make and blind bake pastry check my recipe here.

Add all the custard ingredients together in a wide pan because it will be quicker and easier to control the custard.  The cornflour (cornstarch) is the ingredient that will stop the custard from curdling into scramble eggs when it reaches a high temperature on the stove.

Keep stirring the custard with a whisk while on low-medium heat, if the bottom of the custard happens to curdle then remove the pan from the stove and whisk the custard continuously and it will become smooth again.

When the custard has come almost to boiling point take off the heat keep stirring for few seconds…

…and pour it into a large jug.

Assemble the tart, add the cooled but room temperature apple puree to the bottom of the tart.

Pour in the custard, it should still be warm.

Easier if you place tart on a baking sheet.

Bake on a very low oven for 45mins – 1hr.  After 30 minutes turn the tart around in the oven.

In order to tell when the tart is done the best thing to do is to jiggle it.  If it’s not done it will ripple. When the custard is set that ripple won’t happen, at this point take the tart out of the oven.

Leave it to cool down completely at room temperature, you should wait at least 3-4 hours in order to be able to cut a clean piece.


Apple and Custard Tart
Before making custard pre-heat oven to 100˚C fan / 120˚C F. 1 x 25cm (10inch) tart tin. Serves 8-10
  • 1 pre-baked pastry case
  • 900g - 1kg cooking apples (see note above)
  • 50-60g sugar
For the custard
  • 250g double cream
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 50g sugar
  • 1 teaspoon / 3-4g cornflour (cornstarch) make sure it's a proper measured spoon
  1. Peel and cut the apples into cubes, put them in large pan and add 2 tablespoons of water, put lid on and cook them on low-medium heat for 10mins or until completely broken down into a puree. Stir them a few times during this time as it helps with the breaking down.
  2. Now with the lid of and on low heat let them cook further to dry out for 10-15mins stirring now and again to check you're not burning the bottom of the pan. When the puree is very thick transfer to a bowl to cool down. You're aiming for about 400-450g (1¾ - 2 cups) of puree for the tart.
To make the custard
  1. Add all the custard ingredients together in a wide pan, with a large whisk mix while they're cold. Put the pan on low-medium heat and bring the custard near boiling point whisking all the time. If the mixture starts to curdle on the bottom take the pan off the heat and keep stirring vigorously until it's smooth again. Pour custard into a jug.
  2. Assemble the tart by adding the apple puree first, it should come halfway, pour the custard on top. Place the tart on to a baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes and do the jiggle test see how much it ripples, turn the tart around in the oven and bake until custard is just set, could take another 15-30 minutes depending on ovens. There should be the very slightest ripple or none.
The sugar for the cooking apples are a guide as it will depend on the apple and your tastebuds. You may end up with slightly more puree than needed.