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Gypsy Tart - A local Kentish recipe for a cheap but delicious sweet sticky tart from 1950s England.

Updated on August 26, 2017
Peter Geekie profile image

A retired pharmaceutical and industrial chemist, author and historian specialising in military events.

Kentish Gypsy tart with ice cream
Kentish Gypsy tart with ice cream
Small individual Gypsy Tart
Small individual Gypsy Tart
Absolutely delicious Gypsy Tart
Absolutely delicious Gypsy Tart
Delicious slice of Gypsy Tart
Delicious slice of Gypsy Tart
Now doesn't that look delicious
Now doesn't that look delicious

As a young boy, the world was recovering from a recent world war and bombed wreckage formed the scenery. The kids and adults alike were starved of anything sweet as confectionery was still on ration and so was sugar.

The story goes (and it’s probably apocryphal) that an old gypsy lady was watching some children playing and was so appalled at their sad faces and emaciated condition that she made them a tart, she thought would appeal using whatever she had in the cupboard. As I say I’m not sure it’s true but it’s a nice idea.

This is a tart peculiar to the county of Kent and was eaten by everyone, even the schools served it as it was so cheap and appealing. It’s so sweet I’m amazed any of us children made it to adulthood with any teeth at all ! But we all loved it and ate every scrap. Even now it is still popular locally although it is normally home-made or from craft-fairs.

Gypsy Tart recipe


1 tin evaporated milk 400gms (14 oz.) – Chill in fridge overnight before using

10 oz. muscovado sugar

1 x 10” pre-cooked simple short crust pastry case or make your own

Preheat oven to 200c or 400f

Whisk together sugar and milk for 15 mins until light and fluffy (do not short-cut this part otherwise it may end up with a runny centre.)

Pour into case and bake at same temperature for 10mins

Leave to cool (preferably in fridge) before serving.

I really hope you enjoy this for many of us it brings back some good memories of these rather dark and dismal days. Everyone I know has found it a rare treat, albeit very sweet.

Have you ever tried Gypsy Tart?

See results

© 2012 Peter Geekie


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    • Peter Geekie profile imageAUTHOR

      Peter Geekie 

      18 months ago from Sittingbourne

      Dear Boo.H

      Glad you like the recipe - my favourite.

      I can' t remember Apple Snow other than the name - must look it up....

      kind regards Peter

    • profile image


      18 months ago

      I was looking for this recipe as I remember it being a favourite at junior school in Crayford, Kent. I also loved"apple snow", another

      school pudding.

    • Peter Geekie profile imageAUTHOR

      Peter Geekie 

      5 years ago from Sittingbourne

      Dear samnashy,

      You need a bit of a sweet tooth but I know of no-one who hasn't found it delicious.

      I hope your Dad enjoys it and that you two have a great time together.

      kind regards Peter

    • samnashy profile image

      Sam Graham 

      5 years ago from Australia

      This looks delicious. I'm going to try it on my Dad who is visiting us 'Down Under' for the first time

    • Peter Geekie profile imageAUTHOR

      Peter Geekie 

      6 years ago from Sittingbourne

      Dear Angela

      A taste of the 1940/1950 - I really hope you like it

      Kind regards peter

    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 

      6 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Oh Yummy! I must try this!

    • Peter Geekie profile imageAUTHOR

      Peter Geekie 

      6 years ago from Sittingbourne

      Dear Writer20

      I really hope the taste lives up to the memory

      Kind regards Peter

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 

      6 years ago from Southern Nevada

      You have taken back to Tonbridge were I grew up. When I saw Gipsy Tart I thought I know that name. Sure enough when I dug deep into my memory there is was.

      I'll print the recipe, thank you.

      Voted up and interesting

    • Peter Geekie profile imageAUTHOR

      Peter Geekie 

      6 years ago from Sittingbourne

      Dear Blaeberry,

      I'm so glad you liked it. Even after over 60 years I still love it although the fact that I'm diabetic stops me eating it too often.

      Kind regards Peter

    • blaeberry profile image


      6 years ago from Scotland

      Had this at a restaurant in the north of Scotland only last week, so it has clearly travelled. It is so delicious and I can't wait to try your recipe.


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