One large, cooked brown crab will supply the right amount of crab meat for these small tarts. If you don't want to pick your own crab, you could buy two dressed Cromer crabs and use the meat from those. An ideal canapé or starter, they’re also a creamy, comforting treat which can be made and then reheated before serving warm.

Serves 4 


For the shortcrust pastry

  • 225g plain flour
  • Half teaspoon of salt 
  • 65g chilled butter cut into pieces
  • 65g chilled lard cut into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons of cold water 

For the filling

  • 2 eggs separated
  • 200g fresh white crab meat
  • 50g fresh brown crab meat
  • 90ml double cream 
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper 
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 50g gruyère cheese finely grated


To make the pastry, sift the flour and salt into a food processor or a mixing bowl. Add the pieces of chilled butter and lard and work together until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the water with a round-bladed knife until it comes together into a ball, turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead briefly until smooth.

Preheat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7. Roll out the pastry and use to line 4 shallow 12cm loose-based tartlet tins. Chill for 20 minutes. Line the pastry cases with baking paper and beans and bake blind for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and beans, brush the inside of each case with egg white and return to the oven for 2 minutes. Remove from the oven and lower the temperature to 200C/gas mark 6.

Mix the crab meat with the egg yolks, cream, cayenne and some salt and pepper. Spoon the mixture into the tartlet cases and sprinkle with the gruyère cheese. Bake at the top of the oven for 15-20 minutes, until lightly golden. Serve warm.


This is a Rick Stein recipe from the Guardian. Photo by James Murphy

Tags: Crabs