“This is one of my best dishes and I’ve been turning it out every summer for years,” says food writer Diana Henry. “It’s rich, but the custard is delicate. Prepare the components the day before, then you just have to fill the tart case and bake it.”

Here’s how…

Diana Henry's crab, tomato & saffron tart (Laura Edwards/PA)
Diana Henry’s crab, tomato & saffron tart (Laura Edwards/PA)
Diana Henry's crab, tomato & saffron tart (Laura Edwards/PA)
Print Recipe
Nutrition Facts
Crab, tomato and saffron tart
Amount Per Serving
Calories 433 Calories from Fat 279
% Daily Value*
Fat 31g48%
Saturated Fat 18g113%
Cholesterol 143mg48%
Sodium 295mg13%
Potassium 239mg7%
Carbohydrates 28g9%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 11g22%
Vitamin A 1281IU26%
Vitamin C 8mg10%
Calcium 67mg7%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Crab, tomato and saffron tart

A tasty summer tart
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time1 hour 35 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: British
Servings: 8
Calories: 433kcal
Author: Diana Henry


  • Food processor
  • Rolling Pin
  • 23cm loose-bottomed tart tin
  • Metal baking sheet
  • Baking beans
  • Frying pan
  • Saucepan


For the pastry

  • 250 g plain flour plus more to dust
  • 150 g chilled unsalted butter chopped
  • good pinch of sea salt flakes
  • 1 egg yolk

For the filling

  • 4 plum tomatoes
  • 15 g unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tbsp regular olive oil
  • 1 small onion very finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • sea salt flakes
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch of caster sugar (optional)
  • squeeze of lemon juice (optional)
  • 200 ml double cream
  • generous pinch of saffron threads
  • 100 ml crème fraîche
  • 1 large egg plus 3 egg yolks
  • 200 g white crab meat
  • 50 g brown crab meat

To serve

  • Whatever you fancy – but Henry recommends a green salad, or green beans with toasted almonds, and potatoes if you like.


  • To make the pastry, put the flour, butter and salt into a food processor and whizz until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Mix the yolk with half a tablespoon of very cold water, add it and whizz again. The pastry should come together into a ball. Wrap it in cling film and allow to rest in the fridge for 20 minutes or so, then roll out on a lightly floured surface and use to line a 23cm loose-bottomed tart tin. Prick the bottom with a fork, then chill in the fridge or freezer until cold and firm.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 and put in a metal baking sheet to heat up. Line the pastry with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans. Bake the pastry case, on the hot baking sheet, for 14 minutes, removing the paper and beans after seven. Leave to cool.
  • Plunge the tomatoes into boiling water and leave for 20 seconds, then remove. Skin, halve, deseed and cut the flesh into slivers. Heat the butter and regular olive oil in a frying pan and cook the onion and tomatoes gently until soft but not coloured. Add the garlic, season and continue to cook until you have a thick purée. Taste. If the tomatoes didn’t have the best flavour to begin with, it will benefit from the tiniest bit of sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice. The purée should be dry, not at all wet. Spoon it into the pastry case.
  • Put about 50ml of the double cream in a saucepan and add the saffron threads. Heat until just under boiling, then stir until you can see the saffron colouring the cream. Leave to cool. Mix this with the rest of the double cream, the crème fraîche, egg and egg yolks. Season well and gently stir in all the crab. Slowly pour into the tart case.
  • Return the tart to the hot baking sheet and cook for 45 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and the filling just set in the middle (it should still have a little give, as it will continue to cook out of the oven).
  • Leave to cool for 15 minutes, then remove the tart tin and serve. I think this only needs a green salad, but green beans with toasted almonds are also good, and some people always want potatoes.


Calories: 433kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Cholesterol: 143mg | Sodium: 295mg | Potassium: 239mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1281IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 67mg | Iron: 2mg

How To Eat A Peach by Diana Henry, photography by Laura Edwards, is published in hardback by Mitchell Beazley.

Try Diana Henry’s sour cherry, rose and cardamom brioche pudding.

Wise Living Magazine may receive a small commission to help support the running of this site from purchases made from links on this page. Affiliate links do not influence our editorial or articles published by Wise Living.



Recipe Rating

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.