This incredibly creamy crustless custard tart transforms a handful of humble ingredients into an elegant dessert with a consistency similar to New York style cheesecake.
I am a fan of custard anything. There is something magical about how a few simple ingredients - eggs, milk, and (sometimes) sugar and cream - come together to form something so delicious and versatile that it can be transformed into something so versatile and delicious.
The most obvious example is, of course, pastry cream which is commonly used to fill all manner of cakes and pastries like profiteroles or cream filled doughnuts. Or Hokkaido baked cheese tarts, a popular Japanese dessert that are as easy to make as they are addictive. Custard sauces are perfect for drizzling over Irish Apple Cake or Apple Slab Pie, and are the foundation of custard style ice cream.
The list of custard dessert recipes are as endless as they are simple and comforting. Most are made from ingredients that are easy to come by and can be served deliciously plain or all gussied up with fruit, preserves, or a sauce.
That is what this Crustless Custard Tart is. Making it is as easy as coating a pan with butter and sugar, and whisking together a one-pan custard.
Can you see how creamy this tart is?
I wish I could reach through the screen right now and give you a bite of custard tart, because the level of silky smooth creaminess just doesn't come across in pictures. You have to taste it.
The closest thing I can think of to describe its consistency is a really good New York-style cheesecake. Not the no-bake variety - rather, the kind of thickly sliced, rich and dense, yet smooth and creamy, slice of heaven that nearly melts in your mouth. That's what it's like to eat a slice of this Crustless Custard Tart.
- 2 tablespoon butter
- ¾ cup granulated sugar + enough to coat inside of a 8 or 9-inch cake pan
- 2 large whole eggs + 8 large egg yolks
- ⅔ cup cornstarch
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a small bowl in the microwave or in a small pan on the stove top. Use a pastry brush or paper towel to coat the inside of a 8 or 9-inch cake pan with the melted butter. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the inside of the bottom of the pan, place it in the pan, and brush the top of the paper with melted butter. Sprinkle a couple tablespoons of sugar inside the pan and shake it around to coat the bottom and sides of the pan completely.
- Add ¾ cup sugar, eggs and egg yolks, cornstarch and salt to a large heavy bottomed saucepan. Whisk to combine. Slowly add the milk and cream, whisking constantly to combine.
- Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, just until the custard begins to thicken and you can see the marks of the whisk in the custard as you stir. If you have one, a thermometer can be helpful - cook the custard to 160 degrees.
- Remove the pan from the heat and press the custard through a fine mesh sieve set over a large bowl. Stir in the vanilla and almond extracts.
- Let the custard cool, uncovered and stirring every now and then, until barely warm to the touch - about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan, smoothing the top into an even layer. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the top is a rich golden brown and the custard look set, but is still a bit jiggly in the middle - like Jello.
- Remove from the oven and set on a wire rack to let cool completely. Run a knife or flat metal spatula around the edge of the pan to loosen the sides of the cake. As you do, the sugar coating on the pan will flake onto the edges of the cake, which looks lovely. Quickly flip the cake out of the pan onto a plate or baking sheet that's been covered with a sheet of parchment paper. Then, flip the cake over again, so that it's right side up, onto a serving plate.
- Serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 3 days.
Serve with: Fresh fruit, blueberry sauce, peach preserves, or caramel sauce.
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