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Pine nut custard tart

  • 1 hour
  • 40 minutes
  • 8
Pine nut custard tart

Pine nuts, with their rich creamy flavour, are much loved by the Italians. Lemon has natural affinity with these tiny nuts, and the rich custard enclosed in a sweet short pastry makes an ideal dessert for special occasions.


  • Pastry
  • 2 cups flour
  • ¾ cup pine nuts
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • 100 grams butter, chilled and diced
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • lemon custard
  • 2 cups milk (or use 1 cup milk and 1 cup cream)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • grated rind 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup cornflour
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • ¾ cup pine nuts


  1. Place the flour, pinenuts, sugar and butter in a food processor and proces suntil the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.
  2. Mix the egg yolks and water together and pulse into the crumb to form small moist balls of dough. Gather a little of the moist crumbs in your hand and if you can mould it together the mixture has had enough moisture added. Add extra water if needed, a tablespoon at a time.
  3. Turn out onto a floured surface and bring together. Knead on a lightly floured bench for only about 1 minute. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes while preparing the lemon custard.
  4. Place 1¾ cups of the milk into a heavy-based saucepan and slowly bring to scalding point - just beneath boiling.
  5. Mix the egg yolks, lemon rind, cornflour and sugar with the remaining milk. Quickly whisk into the hot milk and cook stirring constantly over a moderate heat until thick. Remove from the heat and set aside, covered, to cool completely.
  6. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
  7. Roll the pastry out to 3-mm thickness and use to line the base and sides of a 24-cm loose-bootom flan tin. Trim off the excess and re-knead the pieces together. Set aside for decoration.
  8. Fill the tart with the cold custard. Roll out the remaining pastry and cut into thin strips and use these to make a criss-cross pattern on top of the custard. Fill the diamond centres with pine nuts. If wished, brush the pastry strips with milk or beaten egg to glaze.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes and then lower the temperature to 180ºC for a further 20 minutes or until the pastry is cooked and golden. Allow to cool before serving dusted with icing sugar.

Cooks Tips

To cover a custard or sauce, scrape any custard from the sides of the saucepan into the centre. Lightly butter a round of baking paper, large enough to cover the top of the custard, with an extra centimetre or two to come up the side of the saucepan. Place the paper greased-side down directly onto the custard. Set aside to cool. This way the custard (or sauce) will not form a skin on top. The paper will lift off easily.

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