Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Vegan custard tarts (and Bite-Sized Thoughts turns 4)

Today is the 4-year anniversary of Bite-Sized Thoughts. Coincidentally, it is also the 9-month anniversary of our move from Perth to London. I think both deserve celebration, and vegan custard tarts are my celebratory item of choice.

Before getting to the tarts, though, forgive me if I reflect just a little on the last blogging year. The top 10 posts of 2014, as per Google Analytics statistics, are...

Headers over time - from top to bottom:
2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 (I've gotten wider with time)

The past year has been a busy one, and I made the decision to drop my posting frequency from 4 days per week to 3. I'm quite sure nobody minds. I am increasingly willing to take a pragmatic approach to blogging - I enjoy it, but there is no benefit in putting pressure on myself to post (or read blogs) if I am out of time. I catch up eventually, and taking the pressure off helps to keep the process enjoyable. 

I am also more willing to share mistakes as well as successes. These custard tarts are a case in point. The filling is delicious - a classic custard tart, reminiscent of ones I enjoyed in childhood from Australian bakeries. The pastry, though, suffered the consequences of poor advance planning. I needed 80g of non-dairy spread (margarine) but only had about 40g. I made up the difference with yoghurt, and it didn't really work.

I am sharing these anyway because (a) you can learn from me and make sure you have the correct dough quantities available and (b) the filling really was delicious and worked exactly as I'd hoped. I plan to repeat a batch with proper pastry in the future. I have listed the correct pastry ingredients below, and as it's a recipe I have used before, I am confident in it working if made as listed.

A final note - these are a vegan version of custard tarts, but not a whole foods version. Emma shared a recipe for the latter on Coconut and Berries earlier in the year. They are on my To Make list too, but I was craving the traditional filling for these ones!

Vegan custard tarts
An egg and dairy free version of the classic original
Makes 6 small tarts

Food processor recommended for processing the dough

Author: Bite-Sized Thoughts, adapted from a non-vegan recipe on

For the pastry
145g (1 metric cup) plain flour
45g (1/4 metric cup) icing sugar
80g non-dairy margarine
1/2 tsp vanilla

For the filling
Egg replacer to the equivalent of 2 eggs (I used the Orgran brand)
3 tbsp custard powder
3/4 tsp vanilla
30g (1/8 metric cup) caster sugar
185ml (3/4 metric cup) unsweeted almond milk, or milk of choice
Nutmeg, for sprinkling

If you have a food processor, use it to process all pastry ingredients into dough. The mixture will start to clump together when ready.

If you don't have a food processor, use your fingers to rub the margarine through the flour and sugar mix and then knead together until a dough forms.

Roll the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes, or freezer for 10 minutes.

When the dough is chilled, preheat your oven to 180'C and spray 6 small tart tins with cooking spray. Alternatively, use muffin tins (as I did) if you don't have individual tart tins available.

Divide the dough into 6 equal balls and roll each to 3mm thick. Place into your prepared tins.

Prick the bottom of the dough and line with baking paper and pie weights, or rice (it won't be the end of the world if you don't line and fill them though). Bake for 10 minutes, then remove the lining/weights and bake for a further 5 minutes.

Remove the tarts from the oven and allow to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 140'C.

To make the filling, whisk together all ingredients except the nutmeg. Whisk well to ensure no lumps remain. Divide the filling between the tart cases and sprinkle with nutmeg. Don't worry if some of the filling overflows - it will firm up and also reduce slightly with cooking.

Bake the tarts for 35 mins or until the custard filling has set. 

Can be served warm or chilled. Will keep in the fridge, sealed / covered, for 3 to 4 days.

What are you enjoying about blogging this week?


  1. I loved custard tarts as a kid, but for some reason I never tried to veganise them. It never occurred to me to put vegan custard in pastry and it would work exactly the same! They look great, and they're an excellent choice of celebration cake! Happy fourth birthday!

    1. Thanks Joey! I know, some things that seem non-vegan are so easily veganised :D

  2. These look fantastic! I used to always eat massive amounts of custard tarts when we went out for Dim Sum growing up, and I've always missed them a little bit. Thank you for veganizing them!

  3. Congratulations on 4 years. I can't say I get too excited about custard tarts but now I have my spiraliser I need to give your zucchini noodles with peanut sauce another look. Always good to be reminded of old recipes.

  4. Aww happy 4 years to Bite Sized Thoughts! I've enjoyed following you through the years and look forward to many more to come! And yes, I completely support your approach to blogging. After all, I don't want you to feel burnt-out and disappear! I'd be very.very sad ;). Are custard tarts very common in Australia? I grew up eating tons of sweet red bean filled pastries..ah such fond memories...

    1. Thank you so much Min :-) And yes, custard tarts are quite common! I think they are in the UK too, but I had always thought they were quite Australian.

  5. Happy anniversaries :) I love the look of these tarts though I'm lazy with pastry and end up using the packaged stuff, then regret not making my own!

  6. Congratulations on four years of blogging. It's hard to believe you've been in London now for nine months! I remember all of those posts including wave rock and seeing your London kitchen. What a shame about the custard tarts as I go all nostalgic when I see custard tarts as they certainly do remind me of my childhood. They used to sell them at the school canteens! xx

    1. It's the Brumbys ones that I remember! And yes, isn't it amazing that a year ago we were exploring Wave Rock and now it seems a distant memory!

  7. The filling of your custard tarts looks amazing. Congrats on 4 years of blogging!

  8. Happy Blog Anniversary! I am loving the look of these custard tarts too.

  9. Happy blogiversary. What a great achievement :)

  10. Happy 4th birthday! These look so good, I love anything custardy :)

  11. I can't believe it's already been 9 months since your move. How time flies! Congratulations on reaching your 4 year blogiversary too. That's such an awesome achievement! I think you've got a great attitude to blogging and I love the mix of subjects to touch on. It's always a fun read ♥


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