Yesterday was Lancashire Day, a fact I wouldn’t have known had it not been for Suzie of Suzie Speaks / SundayBlogShare fame announcing it on Twitter and the subsequent lighthearted disagreement over whether it was a chip barm or chip butty and who was on the wrong side of the Pennines!
So what better way to rebel and pledge allegiance to the correct side of them there ‘ills and my Yorkshire roots than to bake a traditional Yorkshire Curd Tart for Monday Munchies?
I was due to make a traditional tart anyway, of the Bakewell variety. However, as Sam is allergic to nuts I didn’t think it was fair to do him out of a pudding so opted for this to cover my Bake Off Challenges. Aren’t I nice? 😉
I devoured so many of these curranty tea-time treats as a child and have loved them ever since. There’s always something so wholesome looking about them, even if they’ve been massed produced, screaming stone cottages in chocolate box villages to me.
Dating back to the early 17th century, these baked cheese cakes were traditionally made around Whitsuntide (or Pentecost), using left-over curd from the cheese-making process.
However, as with many things, I’ve never baked one. Until yesterday!
And it was incredibly easy. Following a recipe from BBC Good Food, which I only altered by adding more currants, I felt like a scientific genius playing around and making my own cheese curd.
Watching the curds separate from the whey after adding some lemon juice was mesmersing – but it’s always important to keep half an eye out for spiders. 😉 Incidentally, this process can also be used to make Paneer, a cheese used in many authentic Indian dishes – simply drain the whey and mold into a ball and refrigerate.
Once made, the rest is simply as case of mixing in a little butter, sugar and egg and filling a pastry base. The result: satisfying and homely, a slice of something your gran would serve you with a good cuppa!
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
For the pastry
- 140g plain flour
- pinch baking powder
- 85g salted butter
- 1 tsp caster sugar
For the filling
- 1.2l full-fat Jersey milk (it’s important the fat content is high).
- juice 1 lemon
- 50g unsalted butter
- 50g caster sugar
- 1 large egg (beaten)
- 35g currants
Pour milk into a pan and bring to a simmer. Add the lemon juice and stir gently over a low heat to separate the curd. Be careful not to break the curds too much.
Once the liquid looks watery with creamy lumps in it (yum!), drain through muslin / tea towel, preferably overnight. The whey can be used to substitute buttermilk in another recipe.
For the pastry, blend the flour, baking powder, butter, sugar and a pinch of salt in a food processor until the butter is almost all combined. Tip out the dry mix and make a well in the centre. Add a little cold water to make a smooth (not sticky) dough.
As soon as the mixture comes together, knead very lightly, wrap in cling film and chill for at least 20 mins. Can be made up to 2 days ahead and chilled.
For the filling, cream the butter and sugar together and add the egg a little at a time. Add the curds and mix to break them up, then add currants.
Roll out pastry to line a greased 20cm pie or tart tin. Spread and level filling over pastry base, sprinkle with allspice then bake for 30-40 mins at Gas Mark 4 (180C). Allow to cool in tin before cutting. Enjoy!
Image Credits: All my own.