Cornish Saffron Custard Tarts

Who knew saffron was once grown in Cornwall?

It is common knowledge that saffron is found in copious recipes in North African and Asian cuisines. I was surprised to find out that England had grown it during medieval times, thanks to Phoenician sailors who dropped by a lot earlier. Unfortunately, it was difficult to grow in such a damp climate and these days the world’s costliest spice is imported from Iran and Spain.

This recipe is from Mark Hix’s latest book, Hix Oyster & Chop House. Instead of using plain circle cutters I used flower-shape ones. These sweet bites weren’t difficult to prepare so why not give it a go?

Download and/or print the recipe! Click HERE.

Cornish Saffron Custard Tarts
Makes 10-12 mini tarts
Prep Time: 1 hr – Cooking Time: 45 mins
  • 300g (10 oz) ready-made all-butter puff pastry
  • plain flour for dusting
  • 300ml (½ pint) single cream
  • a good pinch of saffron strands
  • 4 free-range medium egg yolks
  • 50g (2 oz) caster sugar
  • 7.5ml (1½ tsp) corn flour
  1. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to a 3mm (1/8 inch) thickness and prick it thoroughly all over with a fork. Loosely fold into three, wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for 30-40 minutes.
  2. Have ready a 12-hole muffin tray. Unfold the pastry and cut out circles, using a 9-10cm cutter. Use to line the muffin tins, pushing the pastry into the corners and trimming the tops with a sharp knife. Line with discs of greaseproof paper and baking beans and rest in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan 160°C/350°F/gas 4). Bake the tart cases for 10-15 minutes until they begin to colour, then remove the paper and beans and leave to cool for a few minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, put the cream and saffron into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Take off the heat and leave to infuse for 10 minutes.
  5. In a bowl, mix together the egg yolks, sugar and corn flour. Pour the infused cream onto the egg mixture, stirring well with a whisk. Return the pan and cook over a low heat for several minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the custard thickens; don’t let it boil. Pour into a jug.
  6. Pour the saffron custard into the tart cases and bake for 10-12 minutes until set. Leave to cool a little, then loosen the tarts with a small knife and carefully remove from the tin. Serve warm or cold.

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  1. says

    Saffron crocus is found in all odd corners of the UK, hence the delicate and interesting history of Essex market town Saffron Walden.

    These tarts look absolutely gorgeous.

  2. says

    These are soooo adorable! More beautiful than any glossy cookbook photo, too. I love saffron and cardamom and other warming spices in baked goods. It’s especially welcome at this chilly time of year to get your taste buds revved up. 😉


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