YQ pastry egg custards

YQ pastry egg custards

by Kimberley Bell

Kimberley Bell, founder of the Small Food Bakery in Nottingham, winner of the 2018 BBC Food and Farming Award for Best Producer and long-time friend, has very kindly shared her recipe for baking egg custards with the YQ wheat flour milled from the cereal population developed by Prof. Martin Wolfe at Wakelyns Agroforestry.

Kimberley Bell founded the Small Food Bakery in 2014 in direct response to the way 'big food' isolates us from food production and creates an apparently abundant normality that in fact hides an incredibly fragile food system that is damaging our health, social fabric and the environment. Kim describes the aim of the Small Food Bakery as being: 

"To prove that small, human scale food manufacturing businesses and direct trade will enable transition to a better kind of food economy; a resilient one that is devolved to the hands of more people, fairly valuing the contribution both of people and natural resources in the chain and celebrating diversity and flavour."

We've been working with Kim and her team at the bakery for a few years, supplying them with our pulses, grains and seeds and helping them to create the UK Grain Lab. Kim has been instrumental in spreading the word about Prof. Martin Wolfe's work on cereal populations and challenging bakers and millers preconceptions about UK wheat and flour. You can read more about that story in this fantastic Guardian long read by Wendell Steavenson 'Flour power: meet the bread heads baking a better loaf'.

Here Kim very generously shares the Small Food Bakery's recipe for YQ pastry egg custards:

(Makes 12 individual tarts or one large one)

For the pastry:

For the custard:

  • 90g whole milk
  • 390g cream
  • 65g sugar
  • 1 whole egg
  • 3 egg yolks
  • grated nutmeg

You’ll also need a 10/11 cm pastry cutter, 12 piece non-stick muffin tin and some parchment plus baking beans

Make the pastry:

Mix the flour and salt

With cool hands, and working efficiently, rub the butter into the flour until it makes a breadcrumb like texture. Don't overwork it.

Add the honey and water and bring the mixture together in a ball, knead very lightly just until it comes together.

Cover and chill for 10 minutes while you make the custard

Make the custard:

Put the milk and cream in a pan and bring to a simmer, then turn off the heat

Whisk the egg, egg yolk and sugar together in a bowl until completely combined, then pour over the hot liquid, whisking as you go. Set aside to cool.

Roll the pastry:

Roll the pastry and cut out into rounds of 10-11 cm, 2-3mm thick. Line a non-stick muffin tin (12 pieces) with the pastry rounds, pinching any folds together to make neat pastry cases. Re roll any pastry scraps. If you prefer, you can line a large quiche tin instead and make one big tart (cooking times may vary a little) Chill the pastry in the fridge while you preheat your oven to 180 deg c.

When the oven is up to temperature and your pastry is cold, line each of the pastry cases with a circle of baking parchment and place a few baking beans on top of each.


Place the muffin tray on a larger baking tray and in the oven. Blind bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven, carefully remove the baking paper and beans and return to the oven for a further 2-3 minutes. Remove from the oven again, and turn your oven down to 120 deg c.

Give your custard a stir to make sure that any sugar that might have settled on the bottom is re-incorporated. Put the custard in a jug, so it is easy to fill the pastry cases.

Fill each of the cases carefully, as high to the top of the pastry as you dare. Sprinkle generously with nutmeg and return to the oven for 35 minutes. The custard is ready when you wobble the tray and you can see very limited movement in the centre…then you know it has set. If you have made one large tart, it may take slightly longer.

Leave to cool completely before carefully removing from the tin.

Enjoy your baking and very best wishes to all the population wheat baking pioneers, Kim and the team at Small Food Bakery.

Follow us, tag your bakes & chat about the journey on Instagram, we are @smallfoodbakery

Kimberley Bell
Kimberley Bell


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