School Dinners Cornflake Tart – remember?

For some strange reason I have had a longing to make one of these for ages. Maybe because the school has FINALLY started up school dinners, and the tales of what-they-ate-today has brought all sorts of memories back (but they have no pink or brown or white custard? What’s with that?). On chatting to various friends-of-a-certain-age about school dinners, one dish was universally clamoured after, no matter where we went to school.

The Cornflake Tart.

You remember it? Thin Pastry base, layer of jam, then crunchy golden cornflakes spread on top?

Exactly. Who doesn’t remember it?

Well.

I was chatting with the lovely mother in law a couple of weeks ago about this; she was a teacher, and ALSO remembers it fondly. In fact she exclaimed “Oh! I have the recipe for that! I asked the school cook for it at my last school (circa 1978). Would you like it?”

Would I!

And so – here, for you, is the real, actual, proper, straight-from-the-school-cooks-mouth recipe for School Dinners Cornflake Tart.

You’re welcome.

Shortcrust Pastry

  • 6oz/180g flour
  • 3 oz/80g butter (original recipes says half margarine, half lard… I stuck with butter!)
  • 1floz/30ml water

Filling

  • 4oz/110g Golden Syrup
  • 3oz/80g Cornflakes
  • 2oz/40g Butter (again recipe says Margarine)
  • 1oz/30g Sugar
  • 4oz/110g  Red Jam

Method

1. Line the tart trays (I used a flan dish, and remember my school serving this up in enormous tray bake tins) with the pastry and crimp the edges

2. Prick the pastry all over and bake blind, for approx 20 minutes at Gas 6/400F/200C/180 Fan (if you don’t have baking beans, then rice or lentils work just as well)

3. Melt the butter, sugar and syrup in a large heavy bottomed saucepan, then stir in the cornflakes.

4. Spread a thin layer of jam over the pastry case and place the cornflake mix on top.

5. Return the tart to the oven for 5 minutes to allow the mixture to set.

Extra steps not actually in the original recipe:

6. Do NOT leave the tart in the oven longer than 5 minutes, or you end up with one that looks like mine…

7. Serve with a heap of gloopy thick yellow custard (or take the school dinners pink custard option) – and tell me you don’t feel better afterwards. And also about 9 years old.

And yes, I MIGHT have left the tart in the oven a bit long.
And I MIGHT have broken off the worst of the burnt bits before I took the photo.
And it MIGHT be in a rather dated pink flowery dish that was a wedding present nearly 20 years ago.
And I MIGHT have forgotten to photograph it looking beeyootiful with custard because everyone was too greedy to wait, so had to photograph the seconds instead.
But I don’t care – it was still a thing of deliciousness, and comfort-in-a-bowl.

Author: Laura

A 70's child, I’ve been married for a Very Long Time, and appear to have made four children, and collected one large and useless dog along the way. I work, I have four children, I have a dog… ergo, I do not do dusting or ironing. I began LittleStuff back in (gulp) 2004. I like huge mugs of tea. And Coffee. And Cake. And a steaming cone of crispy fresh fluffy chips, smothered in salt and vinegar. #healthyeater When I grow up I am going to be quietly graceful, organised and wear lipstick every day. In the meantime I *may* have a slight butterfly-brain issue.

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89 Comments

  1. As I said on twitter I am drooling, have to make it and if you can find the fudge tart from schooldays recipe I will adore you.

    Jo

    Post a Reply
    • Jo
      Fudge Tart recipe
      Ingredients

      Pastry
      6 oz plain flour,
      1 1/2 oz marg,
      1 1/2 oz lard/ shortening
      1 1/2 fluid oz water.
      Filling
      1/2 pint milk,
      3 oz sugar,
      4 oz marg,
      2 oz plain flour,
      1/2 oz grated chocolate.
      1 teaspoon vanilla essence.
      Method

      Make up pastry as normal, line and grease 8 inch flan tin.
      Bake blind for 15 minutes. gas mark 5 ,185 degrees centigrade
      pour 1/4 pint of milk into saucepan add marg and heat till nearly boiling.

      Blend the remainder of milk with the flour and beat to a smooth paste and add to the milk mixture.
      add sugar and cook thoroughly untill a smooth finish is obtained.
      Flavour with vanilla essence. pour in pastry case and leave to cool, then decorate with grated chocolate.

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  2. My partner was having dreams about this but i dont remember it from school maybe my school did the chocolate concrete cake instead but i totally remember novelty custard we used to get mint green mmmmm

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  3. Thanks for the recipe and pics. Had a trial run on Sunday, today I make the triple scale -in-a-big-tray-just-like-brenda-used-to-make schooldays special for Cake Club at work tomorrow.
    Oh, yeah!

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  4. Will, you’re our hero.
    We’ll have one square each with yummo yellow custard please.

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  5. O my word I’ve been telling my husband about this for ages!and he just looked at me like I was odd as they never had it in liverpool!! Can’t wait to make this and prove how yummy it is :)

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  6. Oh man I tried this and… What can I say I loved it, bought back the memories! Thank you.

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  7. thanks been looking for this for ages it reminds me of school so much

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  8. Custard is not a yellow as it used to be. Doesn’t quite bring back the school dinner memories. What has been taken out?

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  9. I can’t thank you enough! I have been trying to find this recipe for ages because it was the best dessert ever! Always went back for seconds. Will be re-visiting my childhood this weekend! How did they make that pink custard?

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  10. Clearly we weren’t alone in our search for the cornflake tart… and I’m proud to say that my son came home from High School this week exclaiming about the “best dessert ever, it had these crunchy cornflakes over the top of this delicious thin jam tart like thing…”
    Gaz – I believe they simply added a few drops of cochineal?

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  11. I wanted to let you know your a saviour of my childhood memories. Its weird but when i was pregnant all totally craved this.

    Thank you will enjoy cooking this.

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  12. im making this tonight :D

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  13. On cooking this for a dessert for my kids because they have not tryed it yum yum i rember this at school it was very nice indeed cheers for the receip.

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  14. very nice and fond memorys brought back but im with jo b we need the recipe for fudge tart which was the king of all puddings with a drop of chocolate custard.

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  15. Awh, It Is really Niceee, + Making Chocolate Cookies :)

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  16. Thanks been looking for this, I get cravings for it! Lol. Does anyone remember the sponge cake with the icing that melted with custard? Oh and the cheese swirls? Such good memories :-)

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  17. This was perfect school memories for my Fiance and son and as my grand daughter says sooo nice

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  18. mmmmmmm very yummy indeed i love to bake school dinner recepies are the best, does anyone remember fizzy jelly like stuff with dream topping on that was so nice love to find a reciepe for it

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  19. Gonna give it a whirl 2day with my 19month old grandson Bailey, should be fun!!!!hope the family enjoy this classic recipe from my childhood days.

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  20. my auntie is a school cook and always manages to bring some of this home when theres any left. i love it! Myself and a friend are just about to try and make this for the first time ever.

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  21. Mine has set and its separated from the pastry but i followed all your instructions :s

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  22. SOO good always loved this half way through making it now hopefully it will taste exactly how I remember it….
    Haha i’m talking like im so old when I only left school 2 years ago but I miss this so much

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  23. Omg I’m drooling, cannot wait to make this! I’ve been really craving the chocolate sponge with chocolate custard, can’t find a recipe though :C

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  24. i made this in a long tray for my 23yr old son, as they charge the earth for this at work, and now i have to make it all the time, he loves it, and you just cant get it wrong…fantastic

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  25. I’ve just attempted to make it! Cant wait to eat it! Will bring back so many memories of my school days :)

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  26. wow iv been asking everyone if they remember this. just been to the shops to stock up on ingrediants. thank you soooooooooooo much…… yay

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    • Our total pleasure Jemmer – let us know how it tastes!

      Post a Reply
  27. will do pastery is in the oven now. cant wait. dose anyone remember a sticky toffy pudding from school. was more like a caramel tart of some sort. ?

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  28. wow just like i remember thanks ..xxx i feel about 5 hehe.

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  29. thank you for this recipe, this was my favourite thing at secondary school, and who’d of thought it was so easy to make!

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  30. OMG…..I have been looking for this for aaaaages. I loved it-was my favourite.
    Does anyone know the recipe for the chocolate sponge-it was a plain chocolate sponge but really heavy-always stuck to the roof of my mouth hehe

    But reeeeally happy to see this one!!

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  31. there is a wonderful book in print that gives recipes for all the old school dinners its really brilliant. My friend has it at the moment but as soon as returned I will give details if this is permitted on this website

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  32. ps think I think the recipe you are after is called Tarmac pudding

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  33. Me and my mum got messy whille baking (thats the best part apart from eating it!!!!)
    Its the BEST I’ve ever tasted!

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  34. i have just made this tart after searching in the shops for about 14 yrs, i had it in school and also nwhen i was in the maternity hospital having my 14 yr old son….i used to buy all of them from the little hospital shop.was devastated when i went home..not now though it tastes just like i remember xxmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

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  35. im only 23 and i have been thinking of how to make this since i left school, you are a life saver. Thankyou

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  36. OMG this was one of my many favourite school puddings, it was usually on the dinner board with a meat pie that the pastry was soooooooooo good. The other pudding was Manchester tart does any one know the recipe for that. There goes my diet !!!!!!

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  37. Thank you I have been meaning to look up this recipe for years, we had at school too!

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  38. THANYOU BEEN AFTER THIS FOR AGES AND GUNA MAKE IT TONIGHT AND ENJOY! AND YES WOULD LOVE TO NO HOW TO MAKE THE SCHOOL CHOC PUD WITH CHOC CUSTARD ASWEL.. YUMM :)

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  39. Hi, the cornflake cake i had in school had some sort of yellow jam; lemon curd maybe? im not sure. would your recipe work with lemon curd?

    email me your answer please.

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  40. oh and one more thing, pastry does tend to taste better if you use lard and butter (not margerine) so maybe you should try using half lard and half butter (again butter NOT margerine) thats how traditional pastry is made.

    My mum baked mince pies using half lard and half butter for the pastry and it was gorgeous.

    Try it lol you might be suprised!

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  41. OMG ive being wanting this for ages and can now make it, i cant wait lol

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  42. THANKYOU!!!

    First Attempt Now…. Wish Me Luck!!

    I Will Hopefully Have A Very Happy Partner!!!!!!

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  43. OMG I googled cornflake tart recipe and this website came up. Firstly your cornflake tart looks divine, you need a bit of burnt or it’s not proper school dinner style. Secondly this is my new favourite webstie. And thirdly I’m off to get my pinny on and make some NOW x

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  44. I cannot wait to make this. I really miss school puddings !! But how do I make the thick yellow custard ??? Anybody know ? X

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  45. I tried this recipe last night!! Thank you for sharing it with us :)
    My cornflake tart tasted lovely!! So addicting, crunchy and sweet. Yummy xx

    Do try it!! Very simple to follow!

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  46. Mmmm yummy days. Thanks

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  47. Just a note – we’re all so fat-averse that lard seems unthinkable – but it does make pastry much better than just using butter!

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  48. I Haven’t Had This In A While Thankyou! :D

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  49. been lookin for this every were .. i am trying it tomarrow thank you very much =D

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  50. Hi i made the cornflake tart and used your measurements and there was way to much butter in it although the cornflakes were coated really nicely…:(

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  51. OMG!! I have been wanting to make this for almost a year and i just today thought ”screw it, imma look up the recipe and make it tomorrow :D” awh man, you have no idea how much seeing this webpage please me!! :)

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  52. Thank you ! I never knew it was so easy to make your own. It was delicious and was devoured by hubby and kids within seconds of it leaving the oven !

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  53. Im going to make this now, thank you!

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  54. it turned out so good this method is so great

    thanks

    heena xxxx

    :)

    Post a Reply
  55. Thanks so, so much for this recipie. I’ve been looking for it for years!!! Made it last night and it was gorgeous! I felt nine again. I’ve already had all my friends and family requesting theirs!!! Check out my instagram or twitter for pics :) @HannahMlatem or search Hannah Mlatem on instagram x thanks gain x

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  56. I remember one particular school meal that I used to love and that was a savoury mince crumble – I would love to make it now, but now sure what was in the crumble – anyone know of the recipe??!!!!

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  57. Wasn’t it lemon curd in the filling as well?

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  58. Hello

    I’m on making this recipe and was wondering the following

    It says a thin layer (and I know there’s an amount) but is a thin layer say 4mm thick. And is it applied whilst the pastry is still warm or when cold

    Also

    If I wanted to think ahead would it no ok to do everything but the final 5 mins cooking which would happen the next day, or would it go soggy??

    Thanks

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  59. We made this as our Valentines treat last night and it was gorgeous! We veganised it so instead of butter we used sunflower spread and added home-made jam instead of shop bought. Will definitely be making this again :)

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  60. hi, if you wanted to do this in a rectangle tin what size tin- width/depth/length, would you use?

    thanks

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  61. mmmm i love corn flake cake, used to have it loads at school and i miss it! my family thinks im weird for liking it!

    oh well… still carnt wait to try this recipe though looks yummy…

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  62. hi what kind of sugar is used in the filling? caster? granulated?

    thanks

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    • Any kind you have in the cupboard Lulu – I think the recipe suggest granulated, but I find it doesn’t make much difference to the end product if you use caster.

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  63. WOW! I gonna pop down the supermarket now, get what I need and make this!

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  64. Tried and tested this is an authentic school recipe though I used margarine. I only put a thin layer of jam on pastry as too much can be over poweringly sweet! Another top is if you feel there is too much butter or margarine you can leave some of it at the bottom of the pan whilst transferring mixture to the pastry as the flakes are adequately coated and so don’t need to pour in the excess butter/marge. Thank you so much for this recipe!

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  65. Does anyone know the very similar tart recipe but with a mild coffee style soft thick filling in place of the jam? I can’t find it anywhere!!!!

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  66. Just made it!I rolled out the pastry a bit too much and I think it’s a little too sweet. But I haven’t had the cornflake tart for a few years. (maybe it’s me?) My Mum and Dad ate it for the first time ever, they really enjoyed it!!!
    Thank you for sharing the recipe

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  67. Shouldn’t the pastry have sugar in it? Also I assume you mean plain flour for the pastry and granulated sugar for the filling?

    Post a Reply
    • HI Louise

      You can make sweet pastry if you wish, but the filling is so sweet that a simple shortcrust is absolutely fine.
      And yes, plain flour, and granulated sugar are both correct!

      Post a Reply
  68. OMG!!! Thank you soooo much for this!!! I love this and have not gotten it right yet till i found this. Making it for 2nd time today. :) i use Sainsburys own dessert pastry as it didnt taste right to me with just shortcrust. But do everything else from receipe including cooking temp.

    Thank you soooo much its great!!!! ????

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    • I’m so glad emma – there’s nothing like a taste of childhood, is there?

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  69. I think our schools cornflake tart had apple sauce instead of jam,did anybody else’s have this x

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    • Oooh, no, but that sounds like a delicious alternative!

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  70. I have made this twice since we came to France. We belong to a breton dancing club and it is the custom each week for one couple in turn to make cakes and bring cider (for about 60). Both times we made this (just as I remember it) from your recipe and Mary B***y’s Lemon Drizzle Traybake. You would not believe how quickly they both go down and the recipe has been promulgated to some other members so that they can make it for their family, Sunday dinner, of course.

    If only I could find the recipe for another school favourite – ‘hot cakes’ – these were some sort of batter, deep fried and served with thinned T&L golden syrup. Disgusting dietarily, but to eat…

    Post a Reply
    • Oh, I’m so proud! My tart’s gone French!

      And now I’m challenged to find the ‘hot cakes’ – I don’t remember them, but they sound fabulously school dinnerish!

      Post a Reply

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