A beautiful tart recipe from one of Ireland's favourite chefs, Rory O'Connell.

"This is a delectable tart. The combination of date, vanilla and cream are quite delicious and even avowed date haters have been convinced by this. I like it best served slightly warm, but it is still really good the next day served at room temperature." – Rory O'Connell

Yield: Serves: 8-10



220g (8oz) flour

110g (4oz) butter

25g (1oz) caster sugar

1 egg

a few drops of water

a little beaten egg


15 dates, halved lengthways and stones removed

6 egg yolks

85gr (3 1/4oz) caster sugar

600ml (1 pint) cream

1/2 vanilla pod


  1. For the pastry, rub the butter into the flour either by hand or using a food processor to achieve a fine crumb. If using a food processor, transfer the mixture to a bowl and add in the sugar.
  2. Beat the egg and with a fork add to the flour adding a few drops of water if necessary to bring the pastry together.
  3. Knead the pastry just enough to achieve a smooth mass. Form into a neat flat disc and cover and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Roll the pastry on a lightly floured surface and line the flan tin. Try and achieve a slightly raised pastry edge a few millimetres proud of the top of the flan tin. Chill for 30 minutes. 
  5. Line a 23cm (9inch) wide x 3.5cm (1 3/8inch) deep flan tin with a loose base the tart shell with parchment or greaseproof paper and fill to the very top with dried beans.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes, remove the paper and beans and paint the base of the tart with a little beaten egg to seal it. Return to the oven and cook for a further 10 minutes or until the pastry looks golden and just cooked.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little before assembling the tart.
  8. Place the halved and stoned dates on the pastry in circles with the cut side uppermost.
  9. Cream the egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy.
  10. Cut the vanilla pod in half lengthways and with the blunt side of a knife, scrape out the seeds and add to the mixture. Stir in the cream and mix gently but thoroughly.
  11. Gently pour the cream over the dates, being careful not to dislodge them. The filling will come right up to cover the dates.
  12. Bake in the oven and bake for about 90 minutes until just set. If you think the tart is colouring too much, lay a sheet of parchment paper over the tart once the skin on top has set. I like the top of the tart to be well coloured somewhat like the colour of roasted hazelnut.
  13. Once the tart is gently but definitely set, remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
  14. Serve warm or at room temperature with softly whipped cream.