Royal recipe: How to make the simple custard tart enjoyed by the Queen

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Marcus Wareing’s winning custard tart from the 2006 Great British Menu is a dessert fit for the Queen. The original recipe was Marcus’ grandmother’s, but it was made famous when he cooked it for the Queen’s official 80th birthday lunch at Mansion House in 2006. The chef then shared the recipe in celebration of the Queen’s 90th birthday. 

Ingredients: (serves six) 

For the pastry tart

225g plain white flour, sifted with a pinch of salt

150g chilled unsalted butter, diced

75g caster sugar

Finely grated zest of one lemon

One medium organic egg beaten with one medium organic egg yolk

Plus: Two large organic egg yolks, lightly beaten, to glaze

For the custard filling: 

Nine large organic egg yolks

75g caster sugar

500 ml whipping cream

Two whole nutmegs, for grating


Preheat your oven to 170°C/gas mark three. 

For the pastry tart: 

1. Rub together the flour, salt, lemon zest and butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar.

2. Beat together the egg yolk and whole egg and slowly add to the mixture. Mix until the pastry forms a ball. Wrap tightly in cling film and refrigerate for two hours.

3. Line your tart tin (18cm/7in) with greaseproof paper and place on a baking sheet.

4. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to two millimetre in thickness. Carefully arrange the rolled pastry into the tray and use any excess pastry to push into the corners to ensure the pastry is flush with the tray. Line the inside of the pastry with baking paper, covering all parts of the pastry.

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5. Fill the lined tart shell with ceramic baking beans, rice or dry pulses. Bake blind for about 10 minutes or until the pastry is starting to turn golden brown. Remove the beans, rice or pulses, and allow to cool.

6. While cooling, turn the oven down to 130°C/gas mark one so you can cook your custard tart.

For the custard filling: 

1. Bring the cream to the boil. Whisk the yolks and sugar together then add the cream and mix well. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve into a jug.

2. Place the empty pastry case in the oven then pour the custard mix right to the brim. Grate the nutmeg liberally over the top then bake for 30-40 minutes or until the custard appears set but not too firm.

3. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature before serving.

Another dessert the Queen is said to like is lemon posset. 

The old-fashioned dessert with a creamy texture has been served regularly at Buckingham Palace. 

Check out the recipe here. 

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