Portuguese Custard Tarts


12 individual tarts

Prep Time:

15 minutes
plus chilling

Cook Time:

10-12 minutes



About this Recipe

Recipe from Back to Baking Whitecap Books, 2011

As presented at the Niagara Food Festival, these egg-y custard tarts are a personal favourite. They have a distinctively flaky pastry, and while many recipes out there call for frozen puff pastry, you can easily keep these a scratch product by simply folding a little extra butter into your pie dough recipe.
NOTES: The pie dough can be frozen for up to six months and thawed in the refrigerator.


  • 1 recipe Double Crust Pie Dough, wrapped in one piece, chilled
  • 5 tbsp + 1 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup half-and-half cream
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 5 egg yolks
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp + 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1

Pull the pie dough from the fridge 30 minutes before rolling.

Step 2

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the entire piece of pie dough into a rectangle shape 20 inches by 12 inches and ¼ inch thick. Spread five tbsp of butter evenly over the surface of the pastry and roll it up from the short end (to create a spiral effect of sorts). Wrap and chill the dough while preparing the filling.

Step 3

Heat the cream and milk in a heavy-bottomed saucepot over medium heat to just below a simmer. Whisk the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch and vanilla in a bowl. Slowly pour the hot cream into the egg mixture while whisking, and then pour this back into the pot. Whisk the custard constantly over medium heat until it thickens and just begins to bubble, about four minutes. Strain the custard into a bowl, stir in the bowl, and place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard, to prevent a skin from forming. Cool the custard on the counter for 40 minutes, then chill for 1 ½ hours.

Step 4

Preheat the oven to 375°F and lightly grease a 12 cup muffin tin. Remove the pastry dough from the fridge and cut 12 discs from the log. Roll out each portion on a lightly floured surface to just shy of ¼ inch thick and cut a round about five inches across. Press each portion into the muffin tin, so that the edges of each tart shell are about ½ inch above the edge of each muffin cup. Spoon the chilled custard into the pastry.

Step 5

Bake the tarts for 35 to 45 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown and the custard has browned on top somewhat. Cool the tarts in the tin before removing to serve at room temperature or chilled.