Monday, 30 April 2012

Gypsy Tart

I sat on my mum's lap. In an empty primary school dinner hall. Tables and benches still stood in there formal rows. Lunch had been served, consumed and cleared away for the pupils, but the smell lingered. The mania of school lunch time had been wiped from the tables but the air was still thick with the crackles of energy left behind. Just like when you come out of a loud pub and the world seems so silent but in some way electric. She had a green shallow bowl on the wobbly table in front of her, more akin to a plate with slightly raised edges. It held a slice of gypsy tart.
I can safely say, that is one of earliest memories. My mum used to work at a primary school, one which I ultimately went to and she used to pick me up after nursery and have lunch. Gypsy Tart was a staple Kentish school dinner pudding.
Makes 1 x 7inch tart and 6 x 3-and-a-half inch tarts


250gr plain flour
125gr cold butter
50gr icing sugar
Zest of half a lemon
1 egg

1 x 410gr tin of evaporated milk
350gr dark brown sugar
Small pinch of freshly ground nutmeg (optional)
1, Start with the pastry by sifting the flour and icing sugar together into a bowl. Rub in the butter and lemon zest until you have a fine breadcrumb consistency.
2, Add in the egg and mix it using a fork. Knead it gently to bring it together into a smooth ball. Wrap this in cling film and pop in the fridge for a minimum of 20 minutes
3, Roll out your chilled pastry to around 5mm and line your tins. I made a 7 inch tart and 6 smaller ones. Chill these in the fridge for 20mins and preheat your oven to 175o/c.
4, Line them with grease proof paper, fill with baking beans and bake for 10 minutes and then remove the beans and grease proof paper and bake until golden brown - around 5-10 minutes.
5, Whisk the filling ingredients together until creamy, thick and bubbly, this takes around 5 minutes with stand mixer on a medium high speed.
6, When your pastry lines tart tins are ready, fill them with the filling and bake - 10 minutes for the smaller ones and 15minutes for the larger tart.
7, Serve with slices of apple.


  1. What a lovely memory and a delightful recipe, I'll be making Gypsy Tart for my little girl, she'll love it.

    1. Thank you :) Its the first time I have made it but it was like a catapult back in time!

  2. That's a great memory. I vaguely remember gypsy tart as a kid but I don't think we were given it at school. Oddly enough I heard a radio phone-in today in which someone mentioned gypsy tart and nobody seemed to have heard of it. Sign of changing times I suppose.

    1. Thank you Phil - I dont specifically remember it being served as school dinners when I eventually went to school. I remember a friends mum clamoring over one at a bake sale though, sheer glee on her face!

  3. What a lovely memory of your mom! The tart looks great.

    1. Thanks Angie :) Its one of my favourite memories and the tart was delicious!

  4. I love the look & sound of this tart. Foods associated with childhood memories are so precious, thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you, one mouthful and I was catapulted back in time for a second - it was lovely!