Vanilla, Bay and Date Custard Tart

For a sophisticated version of a classic English pastry treat try Lotte Duncan's aromatically flavoured custard tart
By Lotte Duncan
Vanilla, Bay and Date Custard Tart
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6-8
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes plus 1 hr resting
  • Effort: easy



  • 150 g butter
  • 225 g plain flour
  • 25 g icing sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • water, to mix

For the filling:

  • 1 tsp arrowroot
  • 25 g lightlight muscovado sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 300 ml double cream
  • 300 ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1 vanilla pod, split
  • 115 g pitted dates
  • pansies, to decorate
  • bay leaves, to decorate


1. First make the pastry. In a mixing bowl rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles crumbs. Mix in the icing sugar.

2. Add the egg yolk and about 3 tablespoons of cold water. Gently knead the yolk and water into the flour and butter, taking care not to overwork the pastry. Cover and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

3. Roll out the pastry and use it to line a greased deep, loose-bottomed 20cm flan ring or cake tin. Prick the
base of the pastry case. Set aside to rest for a further 30 minutes.

4. Preheat the oven to 200ºC/Gas 6.

5. Line the pastry case with baking parchment and with baking beans. Bake blind for 10 minutes.

6. Remove the baking beans and cook for a further 5 minutes. Remove the pastry case from the oven.

7. Reduce the oven temperature to 180ºC/Gas 4.

8. Meanwhile, make the filling. Mix together the arrowroot and the sugar in a mixing bowl.

9. Add the eggs and the yolk, beating well.

10. In a saucepan heat together the cream, milk, bay leaf and vanilla pod to boiling point. Turn off the heat and set aside to infuse for 10 minutes.

11. Strain the hot milk over the egg mixture, whisking together as you do. Add a little more sugar if you want.

12. Scatter the dates over the part-baked pastry case. Strain the custard mixture over the dates.

13. Return the filled pastry case to the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until just firm.

14. Serve slightly warm, decorated with pansies and bay leaves.

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