Rice Tart

Rice tarts were known in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, as rice was a storecupboard staple, offering the cook many opportunities for incorporating both fresh and dry ingredients. But it was an expensive import at the time and so was used sparingly, and mostly by the wealthy. This particular tart uses ground rice and is an amalgam of a number of recipes, including an old Scottish covered tart, which was stiff with thick sweet cream, spices and currants, and the more abstemious Kentish pudding pie. The latter was served during Lent when meat was not allowed and everyone was tired of weeks of fish. It has a memorable texture and taste something like a sophisticated and creamy bread and butter pudding.
Yet another version of this tart is adapted by Mrs Beeton and is generally known as Folkestone Pudding Pie. This involves infusing the cream with a bay leaf and a large strip of lemon peel before adding to the rice mixture.


serves 6


1. Line a deep 23cm (9 in) tart tin with the pastry and pre-bake or bake blind.

2. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4.

3. In a bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until light and shiny. Beat in each egg in turn, then put the mixture to one side.

4. Put the rice, cream and milk in a pan over a low heat and bring gently to the boil, stirring frequently. Turn off the heat and by this time the mixture should have thickened. Cool for a few minutes, then add the rice mixture to the butter, sugar and egg mixture and mix well.

5. Stir in the plumped currants, cinnamon and vanilla essence. Pour into the pre-baked pastry case and, if desired, create a topping by sprinkling the top with extra cinnamon and a few small knobs of butter.

6. Bake in the oven for about 45 - 50 minutes, by which time the filling should be golden brown around the edges and slightly firm to the touch. If the filling seems a little wobbly, leaving it in the oven for a few minutes, after the oven has been switched off, usually seems to do the trick.

7. Serve hot or cold with thick cream.

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