Muscovado tart with mascarpone

  • Serves 6 with leftovers
  • Hands-on time 45 min, oven time 65 min, plus chilling
  • Medium
Dark muscovado sugar, used here to make the tart filling, has a deep, treacly flavour that works well with a big dollop of mascarpone.

Nutritional info per serving

  • Calories645kcals
  • Fat46.7g (25.6g saturated)
  • Protein8.9g
  • Carbohydrates45.9g (28.3g sugars)
  • Fibre1.2g
  • Salt0.4g
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For the pastry

  • 180g plain flour, plus extra to dust
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 110g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 75g icing sugar
  • Seeds from ½ vanilla pod
  • 3 medium free-range egg yolks, beaten
  • 25g ground almonds


For the filling

  • 140g dark muscovado sugar 
  • 1½ tbsp madeira 
  • 500ml whipping cream
  • ½ tsp salt 
  • 8 medium free-range egg yolks
  • Mascarpone to serve 


  1. For the pastry, sift the flour and cocoa powder into a bowl. In another mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, cream the butter, icing sugar and vanilla seeds together until pale. On a slow speed, add the 3 egg yolks, followed by the flour mix and ground almonds until it comes together. Tip out the pastry onto a lightly floured surface and form into a disc. Wrap in cling film and chill for 1 hour. 
  2. For the filling, heat the muscovado sugar in a medium frying pan over a medium heat. Shake the pan to move the sugar around and, when it just starts to smoke, take it off the heat and whisk in the madeira a little at a time (this stops the sugar burning). Whisk in the cream and salt, then return to the heat. Bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, whisking occasionally. After 30 minutes, strain to remove any uncooked sugar, take the pan off the heat, then whisk in the egg yolks. Leave to cool, then chill with cling film covering the surface.
  3. Roll out the pastry on a floured work surface and line a 23cm loose-bottomed tart tin, leaving a little pastry overhanging the edge. Chill for at least 40 minutes. 
  4. Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4 and line the pastry with baking paper and baking beans or uncooked rice. Cook for 20-25 minutes, then remove the paper and beans/rice and cook for 5 minutes more. When all the pastry is dry and golden, remove the case from the oven and turn it to 140°C/120°C fan/gas 1. Trim the excess pastry from the edge and brush out any crumbs with a pastry brush.
  5. Pour the filling into the case, then cook for 30-35 minutes. The filling should be set but still with a slight wobble. Cool to room temperature – it will firm up as it cools. Slice using a knife dipped in hot water. 

Recipe by Sam Willis at Café Murano in Covent Garden

  • Save the egg whites for another recipe. Put them in a freezerproof bag, label with the date and number of whites, then freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Prepare the pastry up to 24 hours in advance and keep, wrapped in cling film, in the fridge, or freeze in a sealed container for up to 1 month. The tart is best on the day it’s made, but will keep for 24 hours in the fridge.
  • A sweet Sicilian marsala would be perfect.

From February 2016

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