Which pastry creation is top of the tart chart? We know what we'd pick...

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Image: The definitive ranking of tarts

Via: Salvadonica Borgo del Chianti/CC BY-SA 2.0/adapted/Flickr: salvadonica

Don't we all love a good tart? From chic French creations to homebaked heroes that are little more than a round of pastry and a dollop of jam, there's nothing like a tart to put a smile on your face and crumbs down your jumper.

 

But which tart has the biggest place in our hearts, and which fillings are only worthy of the Phantom Flan Flinger? Here is our definitive, official, incredibly scientific tart chart.

 

(Pastry) case closed.

 

12. Strawberry tart

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You know the kind. Exquisitely decorated, beautifully glazed, calling to you from the shop window in a fancy pâtisserie.

 

Nobody actually knows how these kinds of tarts taste, of course, because after you've taken photos from every angle and pronounced it 'too pretty to eat', you lose interest and have a doughnut instead.

 

11. Tarte au citron

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lemon tart

Via: John/CC BY-SA 2.0/adapted/Flickr: 24509941@N00

How do you know you're a proper grown-up? When you order a lemon tart in a restaurant, that's how.

 

Not that a perfectly sharp and zesty tarte au citron isn't a thing of beauty, but if you can choose it over something covered in chocolate, filled with custard or oozing caramel, you're a classier* person than most.

 

*More boring.

 

10. Gypsy tart

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Gypsy tart

Via: Homemade

So sweet it basically makes treacle tart look like a kale salad, gypsy tart is a Kentish school dinner creation filled with evaporated milk, muscovado sugar and... no, that's it. Milk and sugar.

 

Nobody tell Jamie Oliver.

 

9. Frangipane tart

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Frangipane tart

Via: Salvadonica Borgo del Chianti/CC BY-SA 2.0/adapted/Flickr: salvadonica

Like marzipan for people who aren't quite sure if they like marzipan, almond-filled frangipane tart is always a reliable option. Until you have to try to pronounce it.

 

8. Pop-Tarts

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pop tart gif

Via: giphy.com

If you think Pop-Tarts don't count as a proper tart, you clearly don't know how much skill it takes to prepare and eat one. There's opening the packet, choosing the optimum toaster setting, transferring the tart from toaster to plate without scalding your fingers, and then enjoying it before any killjoys have the chance to pop up and tell you that it's not a proper breakfast. 

 

Sure, it's not something Mary Berry would recognise as a tart if it landed on her perfectly coiffed head… but it is available in 27 flavours including chocolate peanut butter, pumpkin spice and cookie dough. Can a tarte au citron say that?

 

7. Ecclefechan tart

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What the Ecc? This is a beloved Scottish tart from Dumfries, with a filling halfway between mince pie and treacle tart. But that's beside the point – it's in at number seven because it's so much ruddy fun to say.

 

Ecclefechan tart. Try it. Ecclefechan tart. Ecclefechan tart.

 

6. Tarte tatin

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Tarte tatin

Via: Joy/CC BY-SA 2.0/adapted/Flickr: joyosity

All respect to the tarte tatin, the biggest baking blag in history. Legend has it this upside-down French classic was invented when hotelier Stéphanie Tatin accidentally burned some apples on the stove, but rescued the situation by covering the pan with pastry and baking it anyway.

 

Golden, caramelised and beautifully buttery, it's certainly been much more successful than the time we tried to pass off a burned birthday cake as 'blackened gâteau'. How do we like them apples? Quite a lot, ta.

 

5. Jam tarts

Stickiness is an underrated quality in baking, but it's central to the jam tart's charm – along with the fact you can make them in about 15 minutes with things you already have in the cupboard.

 

As everyone knows, the very best jam tarts are made by the under-10s (preferably on a rainy day), but those classic supermarket packets of strawberry and lemon curd varieties deserve a shout out, too. Don't forget the wet wipes while you're there.

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Jam tarts

Via: Sarah Joy/CC BY-SA 2.0/adapted/Flickr: joybot

 

4. Chocolate and salted caramel tart

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chocolate tart

Via: Pauline Mak/CC BY-SA 2.0/adapted/Flickr: _my_photos

Alright, so this one hasn't exactly been around since your gran was yay-high to a grasshopper's eye – but as modern tarts go, it's the king: chewy, dark and just salty enough to count as a trend item. Some pastry chefs add espresso to the mix too, because it's not like you need to sleep tonight or anything.

 

3. Custard tart

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Custard tart

Via: Annie Mole/CC BY-SA 2.0/adapted/Flickr: anniemole

Wibble wobble, wibble wobble, custard in a tart. Whether it's the proudly pale English version or their burnished golden cousin the Portuguese nata, custard and pastry will always be a marriage made in pudding heaven. In fact, if we started calling quiche 'savoury egg custard tart', you'd probably be far less squeamish around your gran's buffets.

 

2. Treacle tart

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treacle tart

Via: Ben Sutherland/CC BY-SA 2.0/adapted/Flickr: bensutherland

Commencing sugar rush in 3… 2… 1… you can never quite trust a treacle tart. For one thing, they're liars – there's no actual treacle here, just an unearthly mixture of breadcrumbs, lemon and a bucket of golden syrup. For another, it's sweet enough to leave you bouncing off the walls or nursing a toothache, which isn't the kind of thing that bothered you in year 3 but might when you need to have a 4pm nap under your desk. 

 

But for all its mischief, there's no denying that a piece of this wartime classic is a slice of pure joy. Hello, treacle.

 

1. Bakewell tart

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Bakewell tart

Via: Bob Peters/CC BY-SA 2.0/adapted/Flickr: 22179048@N05

Hailing from the Derbyshire town of the same name, Bakewell is both a perfect tart and a not-particularly-useful cooking instruction. 

 

We should really divide this slot into two: the 'proper' Bakewell tart, made with jam and frangipane and a modest sprinkle of flaked almonds, and the other sort, the cherry versions with an inch of gooey white icing that looks – and smells – vaguely like PVA glue. Both are amazing in their own way, and we refuse to choose between them. You can't make us. Nope.

 

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