What's the difference between a custard pie and a custard tart? I looked at "Pie" vs "Tart"?, but it doesn't really answer my question as a custard pie does not really have a lid.

I would think that the pie is baked and the tart not but then again Portuguese custard tarts are indeed baked.

  • 1
    possible duplicate of "Pie" vs "Tart"? Commented Jul 17, 2014 at 13:06
  • I'd give the linked answer another look: the accepted answer also refers to depth. Deep = pie, shallow = tart. I'd use that as my guideline.
    – logophobe
    Commented Jul 17, 2014 at 21:15
  • @ElendilTheTall: I don't believe that it answers my question and the below accepted answer is a more complete answer
    – Divi
    Commented Jul 17, 2014 at 22:03

1 Answer 1


Pies originally were specifically to denote enclosed items (the crust sealed the item that was to be eaten). In many cases, the crust wasn't actually eaten -- it was a nasty charred thing that was discarded.

In time, pie crusts improved to the point at which you'd eat the whole thing ... but the star was the filling, not the crust.

Tarts, on the other hand, are closer to a shortbread cookie with some sort of a topping. The crust is typically a critical part of the item, rather than just being a container for something else. (which in part is why people mention tarts being more shallow; there's a higher proportion of crust to filling).

So, my best attempt at determining if I should call something a pie or a tart. Note that these are in order. (as I'm trying to make sure that 'pizza' is a pie, not a tat)

  • fully enclosed by crust : pie
  • full bottom crust, with a crumb or lattice top : pie
  • no crust at all : not a tart, but not a pie, either.
  • has no sugar or fat in the crust : pie
  • chewy, flaky or crumb crust : pie
  • not structurally sound enough to be picked up and eaten one-handed : pie
  • was cooked in a tart pan : tart
  • baked without a pan : galette
  • over 2" / 5cm tall (not counting whipped cream or berries) : pie
  • less than 6" / 15cm across : tart
  • shortbread crust : tart

... I have no idea what I'd categorize thing that didn't match something already.

  • This is a more complete answer than the one I found in the link in my question and even though the custard pie and custard tart are both not enclosed, it gives me a better understanding.
    – Divi
    Commented Jul 17, 2014 at 22:01
  • Maybe add this answer to the original question and close this one? Commented Jul 29, 2014 at 11:09

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