• Nutmeg, orange and chocolate tart with crème pâtissière is divinely elegant. A lightly spiced chocolate pastry shell is quite unusual, but works beautifully with the rich, dreamy crème pâtissière. Top with earthy fruit and enjoy! 

    Nutmeg, orange and chocolate tart with crème pâtissière

    Serves: 6
    Cooking Time: 1 hr + chilling time


    • Nutmeg, orange and chocolate shortcrust pastry

    • 240g (2 cups) flour
    • 50g (½ cup) cocoa powder
    • 45ml (3 tbsp) castor sugar
    • 2 large egg yolks
    • 10ml (2 tsp) nutmeg, grated
    • zest of 3 oranges
    • 250g (1½ cups) unsalted butter, cubed
    • Crème pâtissière

    • 900ml full-cream milk
    • 7 large egg yolks
    • 165g castor sugar
    • 60g (½ cup) plain flour
    • 60g cornflour
    • 2 vanilla pods or 30ml (2 tbsp) vanilla paste
    • 450ml double-thick cream
    • a punnet of fresh cranberries, for topping
    • 3 – 4 fresh figs, for topping
    • fresh mint leaves, to garnish



    For the pastry, sift the flour and cocoa into a bowl. Add the sugar, egg yolks, nutmeg and orange zest. Mix in a food processor while adding the butter. Process until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 – 20 seconds. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.


    In the meantime, make the crème pâtissière by bringing the milk to just below boiling point in a heavy-based pot. Remove from heat. In a separate bowl, cream the egg yolks, castor sugar and a little of the milk together. Mix in the flours. Pour into the warm milk mixture and mix well.


    Return the mixture to the heat, add the vanilla and bring it slowly to a boil, stirring continuously. It will become alarmingly lumpy, but keep stirring vigorously and it will become smooth. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin forming. Refrigerate until chilled.


    Remove dough from the fridge and roll out on a floured work surface until it’s about 5mm thick and can fill a 28cm round tart tin. Grease the tin with cooking spray and carefully transfer dough to the tin, using a fork to prick the base all over to remove any air pockets. Line the case with baking paper, then fill with baking weights or beans to prevent the pastry from warping and bubbling as it cooks. Place the tin on a baking tray and place in a preheated 220°C oven for 8 – 10 minutes. The pastry should just be beginning to colour. Remove the pastry case from the oven. Carefully remove the baking paper and weights. Place the pastry case back in the oven until dry, about 5 – 10 minutes. Allow the pastry case to cool in the tin.


    Place the crème pâtissière in a food processor and whizz until smooth. Turn into a bowl. Whip the cream to soft-peak stage then fold into the crème pâtissière. Transfer the cooled pastry case to your serving plate. Use a piping bag to fill the case, starting around the outside edge of the tart and moving inwards.


    Gently scatter the cranberries over the tart. Quarter the figs and add them on top, followed by a few sprigs of mint leaves.


    Cook's tip: Top with fresh strawberries, blueberries and cape gooseberries for a variation.