Little Custard Tarts / Pasta Ciotti


These little custard-filled tarts can be used on a wedding cookie cake, but should be made no earlier than the day before assembling the cake, since they do not store or freeze well. The tarts can be made any size from three inches (as here) to one inch. I think the miniatures look nicer on a wedding cookie cake. Place them at the top of the cake, so they won’t be crushed by the heavier cookies.


  • 2 cups King Arthur unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 large egg, well beaten
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg yolk, slightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons milk, for the egg wash


  1. Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Cut in the shortening with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Add the milk, vanilla, and egg and use your hands to mix the ingredients into a smooth ball of dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the cornstarch and sugar, making sure there are no lumps. Gradually whisk in the milk. Add the butter, place the saucepan over medium heat, and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the egg yolk and almond extract. Set the custard aside.
  3. Divide the dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll one piece into an 11-inch circle, about1/4 inch thick. Using a 3-inch fluted biscuit cutter, cut out circles of dough and press each one into the bottom and up the sides of 3 by 1 1/4-inch tart pans. Reroll the scraps and cut out additional circles. You should have 12 tart shells.
  4. Place the tart pans on a cookie sheet. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of filling into each tart shell.
  5. Roll out the second piece of dough and cut out 3-inch circles. Place a circle over each tart and pinch the edges closed.
  6. With a pastry brush, paint the top of each tart with the egg wash. Refrigerate the tarts for 30 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 425º F. Bake the tarts on the middle oven rack for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Remove the tarts to racks and let cool completely.
  8. Carefully remove the tarts from the pans. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
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Margaret Fitzgearld

i was thinking of making this as one large tart instead of individual tarts. is this a good idea? i don’t want to go to all the trouble & have it wasted. any advice or recommendations? how long should i bake it?


I was thinking of the same thing. I don’t think it’s a bad idea because it still has all the flavors.

Paul Lally, Executive producer

Mary Ann says, yes you can bake it as one large tart. She could. Bake it for 35-40 minutes or until top is nicely browned; bake at 400F


How long does she refrigerate the tarts before putting them in the oven? I can’t wait to make these, I have to find me some tart tins.


These are my absolute favorite Italian pastry. We always had both vanilla and chocolate at the holidays. I like the vanilla, but the chocolate was my favorite! Do you have a recipe for a chocolate filling?



Just make the custard and substitute a square of baker’s chocolate for the almond flavoring. I add a little vanilla too, very good.


Hi! is there a recipe for chocolate filling for the pasta ciotti? Thank you.


Love Pastaciiotti, And would like to use your recipe. Where can I find the tart pans ?

Marian Colangelo

Once baked and cooled, can pastaciotti be frozen? Thank you

TracyAnn Damelio

How do you make the ricotta filling

Ralph setpico

As the last person asked how do you nake the one with the ricotta filling some call it pasta Croce or croccci

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