You won’t go back to shop-bought after making this creamy dessert with a crunchy sugared topping
A good, silky custard tart is a thing of beauty, and a thin, buttery base and a creamy filling with a delicate wobble is the stuff of my dreams. Once you’ve had a go at making your own, it’ll be hard to go back to shop-bought. I’ve zhuzhed up the classic here with a rich, fruity honey and a good sprinkle of flaky sea salt. The crunchy sesame topping will make more than you need, but that’s a good thing: sprinkle it on your morning porridge or yoghurt, or just snack on it as it is. Thank me later.
Salted honey and sesame custard tart
Prep 30 min
Chill 2 hr +
Cook 1 hr 20 min
175g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
95g unsalted butter
40g icing sugar
A pinch of salt
1 large egg, separated
For the filling
1 large egg
6 large egg yolks
600ml whipping cream
½ tsp flaky sea salt
For the topping
70g caster sugar
80g sesame seeds
Crème fraiche, to serve
Put the flour, butter, icing sugar and salt in a food processor and blitz fine. Add the egg yolk and a tablespoon of cold water, then pulse until it forms a ball; if the dough seems dry, add another tablespoon of water. Bring together on a lightly floured surface, wrap and chill for two to three hours, until firm.
Heat the oven to 190C (170C fan)/375F/gas 5. On a floured surface, roll the pastry to 2-3mm thick and use it to line a 23cm fluted tart tin. Prick all over with a fork, line with a scrunched-up piece of greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans or rice. Blind bake for 20 minutes, then lift out the paper and beans and bake for 15 minutes more, until lightly browned. Brush the base with a little egg white and bake again for a minute to seal.
Turn down the oven to 130C (110C fan)/250F/gas ½. To make the filling, whisk the egg and egg yolks in a large bowl. Put the cream and honey in a saucepan, heat gently until steaming, then add the salt and slowly whisk into the egg mix. Leave to sit for a few minutes, then skim off any foam. Pour the custard through a fine sieve into a jug.
Put the tart case on an oven tray and pour in half the custard. Transfer to the oven, then pour in the rest of the custard. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the edges of the filling are set but still a little wobbly in the middle. Remove and leave to cool.
For the topping, line an oven tray with greaseproof paper. Put the sugar, water and sesame seeds in a small saucepan, bring to a boil and cook, stirring, for three or four minutes. Reduce the heat and cook until the water evaporates, the seeds start to brown and clump together and the sugar starts to caramelize. Tip on to the tray, sprinkle with salt and leave to cool.
Top with dollops of crème fraiche, sprinkle over some seeds and serve.