Chestnut Tart

This recipe, which comes from The Compleat Housewife of E. Smith, 1727, is there headed: ‘To make a Chestnut Pudding’. It requires 2 quarts of cream and 18 egg yolks apart from sack, orange-flower water and rosewater, marrow or fresh butter, and puff paste. The quantity is vast, but reduced to make one large open tart and with the rosewater omitted, it is easy and splendid.


  • 1 lb. (½ k.) chestnuts, puréed, or ½ tin chestnut purée
  • 4 oz. (120 g.) caster sugar
  • ¼ pint ( dl.) double cream
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon sherry
  • 2 egg yolks, well beaten
  • ½ lb. (240 g.) puff paste or ¾ lb. (360 g.) short pastry
  • 2 oz. (60 g.) butter


Line a large flat tin with the pastry and weight it down in the usual manner for baking blind. Be careful that the sides adhere to the tin so that you have a depth of ½–¾ in. (1½–2 cm.) all round. Bake for 10 minutes at 400° F., gas mark 6.

Meanwhile mix the chestnut purée with all the other ingredients except the butter. Remove the case from the oven, allow to cool for 5 minutes and then pour in the chestnut mixture. Do not allow to overflow. If any is left over, make up some small tartlets. Dot all over with small pieces of butter. Bake at 300° F., gas mark 2, for about 20 minutes, or till just firm. Sprinkle the top with caster sugar while hot. Serve cold with whipped cream.