18 picnic recipes perfect for (fairly good) weekend weather

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  • From homemade custard tarts to halloumi salads. Here's to how take your picnic basket to the next level.

    As the weather brightens up, summer clothes are unearthered from their winter hiding places and the word ‘barbeque’ is suddenly bandied around at the tail end of every week, we thought we’d compile some recipes for another British culinary institution – the picnic.

    So without further ado, try these mouthwatering recipes this summer – and take your picnic basket to the next level.

    And kicking it all off, is celebrity chef Marcus Wearing’s Custard Tart – made famous when he cooked it for the Queen’s official 80th birthday lunch in 2006.

    (Cuts into 6-8 slices)

    Sweet Shortcrust Pastry


    230g plain white flour, sifted with a pinch of salt
    150g chilled unsalted butter, diced
    75g caster sugar
    Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
    1 medium organic egg beaten with 1 medium organic egg yolk


    In a large bowl, gently work the flour and butter together until the mix looks like breadcrumbs.

    Stir in the sugar and lemon zest, then add the eggs slowly to form a dough.

    Gently shape it into a ball, flattening slightly and then wrap tightly in clingfilm and refrigerate for 2 hours before using. This pastry is very fragile, and handles best when well chilled.



    9 large organic egg yolks
    75g caster sugar
    500 ml whipping cream
    1 whole nutmeg, for grating


    Line a large roasting pan with non-stick baking parchment. Place a buttered 18 x 3.5cm pastry ring (or loose-bottomed tart tin) in the centre. Roll out the pastry, chill for half an hour and then use to line the ring, letting the surplus hang over the top. Chill for another half an hour.

    Heat the oven to 1700C fan (1900C/gas 5).

    Bake the pastry case blind for 10 minutes until it starts to turn golden brown. Remove the paper and rice, and brush the inside of the party case with the egg yolks. Return to the oven to bake for 5 minutes. Leave to cool. Turn the oven down to 1300C fan (1900C/gas 2).

    Next, make the filling. Put the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and whisk to combine. Pour in the cream, mix well and then strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a heavy pan. Warm over a low heat to blood temperature (370C), stirring all the time. Put into a jug.

    Put the cooled pastry case, still in the ring, in the parchment-lined pan, on the middle shelf in the oven. Slowly and carefully pour in the custard, filling the case as full as you can – right to the very top. Grate nutmeg liberally all over, to cover the custard completely.

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