Big Fat Gypsy Tart

So, with little further ado, may I present you, dear reader, with my first blog entry. I’ve been meaning to start this for ages, and now finally I have.

I thought that for my inaugural post I had best keep the recipe simple, so as to ease me in to the swing of things. I’ve no desire to make a fool of myself by trying to make souffle or some remarkable baked alaska, but I did toy with the idea of various different recipes before deciding on this one. And this recipe for Gypsy Tart is as simple as they come, with just three ingredients. This is little more than creamy caramel or dulce de leche on shortcrust pastry, but the result is delectable.

It’s a traditional english pudding from Kent, and it is said that it got the name ‘Gypsy Tart‘ through a woman who wanted to feed the hungry gypsy children which played on her street and that she wanted do so with what few ingredients she had in her larder. The result was this, her sickly sweet tart for the gypsy children. I shan’t lie and say that this story is gospel, but I like to think that it’s true. A lot of recipes use evaporated milk rather than condensed milk, but I prefer condensed as it gives the tart a firmer, creamier finish. ‘Moist’ (I struggle with this word) or damp is good, but waterlogged and runny not so much, and that can be the danger with using evaporated milk.

 This Big Fat Gypsy Tart is incredibly sweet and a far cry from anything even vaguely healthy. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the sweetest tart around. BUT it is incredibly moreish and true comfort food, and as it’s cheap, quick and perfectly simple to make, I see it as the ideal dessert for students. Serve it with some lemony mascarpone and it suddenly becomes mildly sophisticated too. We be winning all round.

The question of whether you should make your own rich shortcrust pastry or buy it ready-made is simply a question of time, taste, preference and convenience. Ready-made pastry can be an absolute god-send, and for filo pastry I will always buy ready-made as I’ve no desire to put myself through the stress, sweat and  pressure of making it myself. My recipe for making rich shortcrust pastry is just here if you want it, need it, desire it, or  just want a fascinating read.

And now for the Tart herself.

Serves 12 (or 6 if you’re a sweet-toothed glutton)


  • 500g rich shortcrust pastry blind baked in a lined 10 inch wide, 2 inch deep tin (don’t stress, just work with what you’ve got).
  • Two 410g tins of condensed milk
  • 350g dark muscavado sugar

(and that is it…)

Now for the method behind the madness.

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200C/gas 6.
  2. Pour the two tins of condensed milk into a large bowl and beat wildly for a couple of minutes with an electric whisk. You want the condensed milk to start to gain in volume.  If you don’t have an electric whisk, then just use a normal whisk and build up a slight sweat. It’s all healthy work.
  3. Gradually pour in the muscavado sugar while continuing to whisk. Once all the sugar is combined, continue to whisk for several minutes. The mixture should become a creamy golden brown and have the consistency of quite a thick batter. Something like this picture…
  4. Pour this brown creamy mixture into the prepared pastry case and place in the oven. Cook for 25-30 minutes. The surface should be tacky to the touch, and the mixture should seem set if you give the tin a little shake.
  5. Allow to completely cool in the tin before serving your gypsy tart up.  Once cool enough, I would advise leaving it in the fridge for an hour or so. As it cools, it shall continue to set.
  6. Lightly dust with icing sugar, cut into slices and serve with a dollop of lemony mascarpone (to make this, just stir the zest and juice of half a lemon with about 200g of mascapone).
  7. And voilà, fertig, done. Enjoy.
First. Post. Done. Huzzah.

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3 thoughts on “Big Fat Gypsy Tart

  1. Angela says:

    Looks delicious, can’t wait to make it for Sunday tea!!

  2. Zoe says:

    It’s divine!

  3. Tracey Sluman says:

    Brings back memories,we use to love this for school dinners

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