Sweet Little Sugar Tart


This is a really simple, old-fashioned little tart that depends on nothing more than what most people have in their cupboards every day. I’m always trying to expand my repertoire of quick desserts that can be made with ingredients I have on hand. This one is just a creamy little sugar custard that pops up in old cookbooks over and over, sometimes called a butter tart, and sometimes with brown sugar. Sometimes the addition of raisins. It’s the type of dessert I love–easy, fast, and rustic, and I always have what it takes.

Our great-grandmas really knew how to put ingredients together.

See my pie pastry recipe here.

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How to make a Sugar Tart:

pastry for a single-crust pie
3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornmeal
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons butter, melted

Roll out the pastry. Line a greased 8-inch tart pan with the pastry.

Whisk all the ingredients together. Yes, that’s a lotta butter. It’s okay. We’re making a treat.

Pour into the pastry shell.

Stick it on the lower rack of your oven at 350-degrees for about 30 minutes. (It’s very important to place it on the lower oven rack or the pastry will not get done. You could pre-bake the pastry if you prefer. I find it works fine as long as I bake it on the lower rack.) The custard will be just about set. Remove from oven to add the topping.

1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Use a pastry blender, or just a fork, to cut the butter into the sugar and spices.

Sprinkle the topping over the custard.

Return the tart to the oven for about 10 more minutes.

Cool on a wire rack.

This tart is not all that much different from a classic custard pie other than the lack of milk and the addition of the cornmeal texture and the flavor of the apple cider vinegar (which makes it a very American sort of custard). It’s a tart that knows how to make the best out of very basic ingredients and it’s a new (old) favorite with me. If you use a spring-form pan, you could even remove it from the pan for a prettier presentation, but I just used a regular tart pan. You could also make this in mini-tarts. Maybe for Valentine’s Day!

See this recipe at Farm Bell Recipes and save it to your recipe box.

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on February 12, 2011  

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17 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 2-12


  2. 2-12

    I just stumbled upon the following site that has your video of Annabelle playing with the dog…basically unattributed!


    Grrrr. Hate to add on to the pile of poo you’re already dealing with… I hope you have lots of rainbows shining on you for the rest of the month to make up for all of this!

  3. 2-12

    Looks yummy and easy. I will have to try it.

  4. 2-12

    Now that looks good!!!! (and easy)

  5. 2-12

    YUM!!! making this today!!! :)

  6. 2-12

    Suzanne, you deserve a sweet treat after this week! It does look yummy, and I think I read that it has NO calories..hee, hee.

  7. 2-12

    I saw the title of this post and thought you’d named Fanta’s baby! :-)

  8. 2-12

    Yum!! That just might make me blow my diet this weekend!

  9. 2-12

    I’ve heard this called a Chess Pie.

  10. 2-12

    Looks very easy to make with just a few ingredients.That’s my kind of country cookin’.

  11. 2-12

    I saw that video of the sheep and dog playing. Why do people keep stealing Suzanne’s Work? Go after them Suzanne, don’t let them get by with this. Aren’t people supposed to ask permission when they lift your videos and photos?

  12. 2-12

    That looks so good , if it weren’t for my diet I’d make this in a heart beat LOL.

  13. 2-12

    Yum yum yum yum yum!! Can’t wait to try this for Sunday – Alpha Hubby will love it! Found you by googling milk cans – so glad I found your site!!

  14. 2-12

    Any suggestions for those of us whom lack a tart pan – besides going and buying one? I’m out of work and even if I wasn’t, I don’t think I’d go buy one. I have no idea how deep the pan is. It looks like it’s larger than an 8″ pie pan. Perhaps I should use a 9″ or a 10″ pan? I have all 3 sizes, but I don’t know the volume of liquid the pan is holding. And I’m too sick and math stupid to calculate it out.

    Thanks for the recipe!

  15. 2-13

    Darlene, it’s not a large tart pan. A regular size pie pan (not deep dish) would work fine!

  16. 2-13

    That is the standard old recipe for chess pie that my mother made and I make quite often. It is exact ACCEPT I have never heard of putting a crunch topping on top. That is a great idea and one i’m going to try. Now when you talk about a custard that is just sugar, eggs and butter and milk and I have never heard of vineger or corn meal in a custard. Anyway what ever you cook always looks good.

  17. 2-14

    Looks good. I’ve never seen a sugar tart before.

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