Posted in Home Baking, Sweets for the Sweet

In Which Custard Tarts Are Made (For Lack of a Better Term) Healthier…

Muscovado Custard Tarts

Where I’m from, we’re all crazy about custard – more specifically, about custard tarts.  There is just something so soothing, so comforting about its sweet creaminess that makes it so irresistible.  More so, of course, if said creaminess is surrounded by a crisp, buttery crust that provides contrast.

Of course, the problem with custard tarts is that they’re so gosh-darned fattening: all that rich milk!  All that white, processed sugar!  All that butter making the crust so crisp yet so tender all at the same time!

I am of the opinion that where there’s a will, there’s a way.  That in mind, I swapped muscovado sugar for the white, used low-fat (not skimmed!) milk for the custard, and a non-trans fat margarine for the pate sucree I used for the crust.  Perhaps it’s not as healthy as the diet-crazies want it to be, but it works in a pinch.

Muscovado Custard Tarts

For the pate sucree:

  • 2/3 cup salted trans-fat-free margarine
  • 2-1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup iced water

For the filling:

  • 250mL all-purpose cream
  • 350mL low-fat milk (not skimmed)
  • scant 150 grams muscovado sugar or dark brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Prepare the pastry by mixing the flour, sugar, and cinnamon.  Cut in the margarine with two knives or a pastry blender; better yet, rub the margarine into the flour mixture with your fingers until it resembles medium-fine cornmeal.  Add the iced water by tablespoons, mixing until all of it has been incorporated.  Knead into a cohesive ball.

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees / Gas Mark 6.  Grease the cups of two medium muffin tins.  Roll out half the pastry out onto a floured surface.  Using a wide-mouthed drinking glass (floured at the rim), cut out circles and press these into the prepared muffin tins.  Bake for about twelve to fifteen minutes.  Remove from the tins and allow to cool before stacking.  Set aside and prepare the rest of the pastry in the same manner.

Lower the oven temp to 350 degrees / Gas Mark 4.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and the muscovado sugar; set aside.  In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, cook the cream, milk, and vanilla; bring to a boil.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 10 – 15 seconds.  Carefully pour the vanilla milk mixture into the egg-sugar mix, whisking to blend them properly.

Arrange the prepared pastry shells on two non-stick lipped cookie sheets.  Pour 2 tablespoons of the custard into the shells.  Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or till the edges of the custard are set but the middles still have a bit of a wobble.

Makes approximately 40 – 42 tarts.

Seriously, though: while these tarts are made with healthier ingredients, eating too many of them will do your waistline no favors at all.  :p




Midge started her career in PR writing at seventeen when she began drafting documentaries for a government-run television station in the Philippines. Since then, she made a career in advertising and public relations which ended in June 2016 These days, she works full time at Philippine Tatler as a features writer under the nom de guerre Marga Manlapig. Aside from what she does for a living and her poetry, she has turned her home kitchen into a personal culinary lab and is currently working on another novel. Follow her on Instagram at @midgekmanlapig.

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