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Pinenut custard tart

  • 8
Pinenut custard tart

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


  • Pastry
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • 100 grams chilled butter, diced
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons chilled water
  • Lemon custard
  • 2 cups milk (or use 1 cup milk and 1 cup cream)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • grated rind of 1 lemon
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • ¼ cup cornflour
  • 70 grams pinenuts, for decoration
  • icing sugar for dusting


  1. Place the flour, sugar and butter for the pastry in a food processor and pulse until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.
  2. Mix the egg yolks and water together and pulse into the crumb mix to form small moist balls of dough. Gather a little of the moist crumbs in your hand; if you can mould the crumbs together the mixture is moist enough. Add extra water if needed, a tablespoonful at a time.
  3. Turn out and bring together. Nead on a lightly floured board for only about 1 minute. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes while preparing the custard.
  4. Place 1¾ cups milk into a heavy-based saucepan and slowly bring to scalding point (just below boiling).
  5. Mix the egg yolks, lemon rind, sugar and cornflour with the remaining milk. Quickly whisk mixture 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 (see cook's tips).
  6. Roll the pastry out to 3mm thickness and use to line the base and sides of a 24cm loose-bottom flan tin. Trim off the excess, knead pieces together and set aside for decoration.
  7. Fill the tart with the cold custard. Roll out the remaining pastry and cut into thin strips. Use these to make a crisscross pattern on top of the custard. Fill the diamond centres with pinenuts. If desired, brush the pastry stips with milk or beaten egg to glaze.
  8. Bake at 200ºC for 20 minutes, 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

- This tart can be made a day in advance, refrigerated and served at room temperature the next day. - Covering a custard or sauce: Scrape any custard from the sides of the saucepan into the centre. Grease or 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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