Thursday, 12 May 2016

Yorkshire Curd Tart

This delicious tart is made with easy to make curds, and includes currants, lemon and finely grated nutmeg.  Being traditionally baked here in Yorkshire around Whitsuntide, this tart would be lovely served with some double cream this weekend.

Yorkshire curd Tart, made with homemade curds, nutmeg and currants

Grab your coat and purse, we're off to buy a new frock for Whitsuntide.

Wikipedia tells us that Whitsuntide is the week which follows Whitsun.  Whitsun is the seventh Sunday following Easter Sunday, and this year it falls on the 15th May.  It is the name used in Britain and Ireland for the Christian festival Pentecost and marks the end of the Easter cycle which began with Ash Wednesday.  Wikipedia goes onto say that in 1978 the traditional Whit Monday holiday was replaced by Spring Bank at the end of May.  Whitsun was marked by church parades called Whit-Walks and even Whit fairs.   Especially for the Whitsun festival children often had a new outfit bought for them.  Often those outfits were showed off to family, friends and neighbours who gave a few pennies to the child! 

Food, in all of its delicious forms, often plays a part in religious holidays.  Just think of Easter and Christmas and all of the delicious goodies which are shared at that time.  Whitsuntide is no-different, though perhaps it was celebrated on a smaller scale.  Flavours of Yorkshire recipe book tells us that Yorkshire Curd Tarts were often made at this time of year in and around Yorkshire.  It's a delicious bake which sadly is infrequently seen in bakeries these days.  Like most tarts, they can be made individual or family sized.  The tart tin is lined with a sweet pastry (technically called pate sucree by patisserie chefs) which is filled with a mixture of curds, lemon, sugar, eggs, butter, spice and dried fruit.

Yorkshire curd tart made with Mixed Spice and cottage cheese!
Many old recipes morph and change over the decades and end up being made as families prefer them.  I learnt this when I made our Pikeltes a little while ago, not one recipe on the internet was the same; some included yeast in their mixture, others not and so on.  The same is true for the Yorkshire Curd Tart.  I made my first Yorkshire Curd Tart last year largely following the recipe in Flavours of....Yorkshire Recipes, compiled by Julia Skinner which includes many Francis Frith historic photographs of the area. (Having done a little search on google, I'm sure there will be a Flavours of recipe book compliled by Julia Skinner for your county.)  The preamble of that recipe suggests that allspice is the distinguishing characteristic flavour of Yorkshire Curd Tart, but suggests that mixed spice may be more suited to modern tastes.   It also listed raisins or sultanas as the dried fruit.  The Foodie Bugle, however, writes of different spice and dried fruit which was traditionally included in the humble Yorkshire Curd tart.  Although she mentioned that finding an authentic recipe was difficult she makes reference to a home cook, Mrs Tasker, who lived in Brayton, near Selby, way back in 1741.  The recipe which Evie, the author of The Foodie Bugle, ultimately shared was made with nutmeg and currants, so really quite different to the one which Julia Skinner compiled.   Deciding to mark Whitsuntide again this year, I chose to try the nutmeg and currant version.  It's worth noting that Betty's Tea Room, here in Yorkshire, also uses the very same spice and dried fruit.



Traditional Yorkshire Curd Tart

The name Yorkshire Curd Tart clearly tells us that the tart is traditionally made with curds.  Left over curds from the cheese-making process were traditionally used.  Having not been aware of how easy it is to make curds at home, the tart I made last year controversially included cottage cheese.  Don't get me wrong, it was delicious (I wouldn't have shared it had it not been :-) ), but this year I decided to make it authentic.  I imagined curd making would be difficult, labour intensive and requiring specific equipment, but I was very wrong.  It really is simple to make, in fact it's probably easier to make your own curd than trying to work out which cottage cheese to buy (as a good quality one is needed if you're going down that route.)   Put simply, the milk is heated almost to the boil before lemon juice is added.  The milk soon begins to separate into the curds (white solids) and whey (yellowy coloured liquid).  This is then passed through a muslin lined sieve to separate the two components before the curd is used in the tart's mixture.  It really is such a quick process, having only taken around 20 minutes from having cold milk to curds which can be used in the recipe!  For those of us who don't like to waste food, the whey by product can in fact be captured and used in a number of baked goods, such as bread or even included in smoothies!

Now, the milk used in the curd making process is important.  Many sites suggest using 'real' milk (raw or unpasteurised) but this can be difficult to get hold of for many people and having watched Rip-Off Britain: Food with Angela Ripon et al the other day I learnt that real milk is actually banned from being sold in Scotland.  I therefore decided to use pasteurised milk which is easily available.  Other sites advised to avoid using UHT milk for making curds.  They explained that this process alters the protein structure of the milk preventing it from separating when the acid is added.  The other consideration when purchasing the milk for making homemade curds is the milk's fat content.  Clearly a whole milk will yield more curd than that of a semi skimmed or even skimmed milk.     

Yorkshire Curd Tart

And the verdict?   It was really was delicious.  Mr E commented that he preferred this tart over last year's less authentic cottage cheese version due to its comparatively smoother feel in the mouth. Served with a little double cream, this tart is easy to make and would make a perfect treat this Whitsntide weekend.

Yorkshire Curd tart served with double cream


So, do we have a date for clothes shopping rounded off with a generous slice of Yorkshire Curd Tart?



So let's get to it and bake! 


Yorkshire Curd Tart.     Yum


Yorkshire curd Tart
Yield: 1 x 22cm tart
Serves: 10
Difficulty: Easy 
Time: hands on time about 35 - 40 minutes; plus about 35 minutes bake time; cooling time. 
Freezable: Yes 
Storage: Airtight container for 2 or 3 days.

You will need:

1 x large Pan
Sieve
Muslin Square
1 x medium Bowl
Pallet Knife, or similar
Cling Film
Grater
Rolling Pin
1 x 22cm Tart Case, loose bottomed
Small Sharp Knife
Tray, large enough for the tart tin to sit within 


For the sweet pastry (Pate Sucree)

140g Plain Flour, plus extra for dusting
50g unsalted Butter, cold, cubed
50g Icing Sugar
1 large Egg, beaten
little milk / Water

 

For the curds

4 pints Whole Milk
4 tbsp Lemon Juice (from approximately 2 lemons)

For the Filling

30g Caster Sugar
35g Golden Caster Sugar
1/2 Nutmeg, finely grated
2 large Eggs
1 Lemon, juice & zest of
35g unsalted Butter, melted
280g Curds (or good quality Cottage Cheese)
75g Currants


How to make it
1.  Make the curds.  Line the sieve with the muslin cloth.  Pour the milk into a large pan and set over a medium flame.  Allow the milk to heat up until it is sending off steam but not quite boiling.  Turn the heat off.  Add the lemon juice to the hot milk and stir.  The curds and whey will start to separate.  Add a little more lemon juice if it isn't separating.  Pour the curds and whey into the muslin lined sieve.  You may want to capture the whey for another recipe.   Once the whey has drained away, gather the edges of the muslin cloth with the curds in the centre and gently squeeze out a little of the excess whey.  Place the curds into a bowl and allow to cool.

2.  Make the pastry.   Place the flour, icing sugar and cubed chilled butter into a good sized bowl.  Rub the butter into the flour and sugar between your thumb and finger tips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.   Make a well in the centre of the breadcrumbs and add the beaten egg.  Using a rounded pallet knife, or similar, cut through the mixture to make a dough.  Add a teaspoon of cold water or milk if the dough hasn't fully come together.  Shape the pastry into a ball and flatten into a disc.  Wrap in cling film and place into the fridge for 30 minutes to rest and chill.

3.  Line the tart tin.  Remove the pastry from the fridge and unwrap.  Lightly flour the work surface and rolling pin, but avoid adding too much as this will toughen the pastry.  Roll the pastry out until it is nice and thin, about 2 - 3mm.   Wrap the pastry around the rolling pin and carefully place it over the tin and gently lay it inside.  Use the pad of your thumb and fingers to ensure it sits in the tin well.  Avoid stretching the pastry.   Use a pair of scissors to cut off some of the excess pastry. Place the lined tin into the fridge whilst the filling is made.

4.  Preheat the oven to 190c / Fan 170 / Gas 5.  Place a tray into the oven which is large enough to hold the flan tin.

5.  Make the tart filling.  Place the sugars and finely grated nutmeg into a good sized bowl bowl.  Add the lemon zest and juice, beaten eggs and melted butter.  Mix.  Crumble the curds into the bowl (or add the cottage cheese) and mix well.  Add the raisins and mix again.

6.  Fill the tart.  Remove the lined tart case from the fridge.  Use a small sharp knife to trim the excess pastry from the flan tin.   Remove the heated tray from the oven and place the flan tin onto it  Stir the mixture again.  Carefully decant the filling into the pastry cases, trying to avoid spilling the filling down the back of the pastry.

7.  Bake.  Place the hot tray and flan into the oven and allow to bake for about 35 minutes.  You may need to rotate the tart after 20 - 25 minutes.

8.  Cool.   Once set and lightly golden, remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 or 15 minutes on a cooling tray before removing from the tart case.


Enjoy with a dollop of cream and a pot of tea.



Notes:

a)  I found it easier to prepare the curds in two batches due to the weight and volume of the milk.
b)  Avoid buying UHT milk for the curd making process.  Also, choose a milk which is comparatively high in fat.
c)  If dusting with icing sugar, do this just before serving to avoid the sugar dissolving into the tart.











This post has been shared with: 

Perfecting Patisserie hosted by Lucy over at Baking Queen 74 

Bake of the Week co-hosted by Sarah at Maison Cupcake & Helen at Casa Costello (this week with Sarah)

Inheritance Recipes co-hosted by Margot at  Coffee & Vanilla and Solange over at Pebble Soup (this month hosted by Margot)


Link up your recipe of the week Charlotte's Lively Kitchen - Food Year Linkup Monkey and Mouse CookBlogShare





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30 comments:

  1. What a fascinating recipe. I have never heard of it. Totally love finding regional recipe gems. Love the way you made your own curds as well

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    1. Thank you Alison, it really does seem to have stayed local to Yorkshire. The curds were so easy to make, I'll certainly do it again.
      Thanks for popping by and commenting,
      Angela x

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  2. What a wonderful tart. I love that you made your own curds. I've been reading up on pasteurised vs unpasteurised milk recently and it makes for a fascinating discussion. I've started buying full fat ungomogenised milk recently which I imagine would work well for this. Looks so good it has made me feel hungry. X

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    1. Thank you Rebecca. The pasteurised v unpasteurised milk debate is certainly interesting. Did you manage to see the Rip off Britain:Food programme the other day where they looked at unpasteurised milk, it was really interesting. I've not tried it with full fat unhomogenised milk, but I would imagine that it would work really well.
      Thanks for popping by Rebecca,
      Angela x

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  3. Oh, that looks amazing!! I have never heard of Yorkshire curd tart before so I'm very intrigued... Thank you for sharing it with Inheritance Recipes.

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    1. :-) Thank you Margot, it really does seem to be one of those regional bakes.
      Thanks for popping by and of course for hosting such an interesting linky.
      Angela x

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  4. I loved your pikelets (hope that's the correct spelling) and made them the next day. I am likely to make these .......tomorrow, thank you so much for supporting #Inheritancerecipes challenge. We love to see you there. x

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    1. :-) I'm so glad you enjoyed them Solange. Did you opt for the yeasted or quicker version of the pikelet (that's how I spell it too)? Do let me know how you get on with this tart if you give it a whirl, we really it enjoy it.
      Thank you for popping by Solange, and of course for hosting a great linky,
      Angela x

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  5. Delish! Love a good Yorkshire classic, and who'd have thought the curds were so easy to make! One thing I really miss about living down South is that I can't walk past Bettys and gaze at the window display anymore...
    Hannah x

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    Replies
    1. Betty's tea room is brilliant isn't it, I've not been for a while...I must visit again soon :-)
      Curds are surprisingly easy to make Hannah, certainly worth that little bit of effort.
      Thanks for popping by and commenting,
      Angela x

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  6. Ooh this sounds delicious! I first thought of lemon curd but am intrigued to hear you use curds as in curds and whey. Little Miss Muffet would be proud! I will have to see if there is a book of local specialities for Surrey as I would love to try something out. Thanks so much for sending your tart over to #PerfectingPatisserie!

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    1. Hahaha, yes, I guess little Miss Muffet would be proud :-) The little books with historic local recipes are really good, with loads of interesting old photos as well. I'm sure there will be one for Surrey Lucy.
      Thanks for your lovely comments Lucy, and of course for hosting.
      Angela x

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  7. Wow the hubby would love this! Her grew up in Yorkshire so loves any Yorkshire food! Thank you for sharing with #CookBlogShare x

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    1. Ah, you'll have to make it for him when you have a a little spare time Kirtsy,
      Thanks for popping by,
      Angela x

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  8. I've never tried this, it looks and sounds lovely! Thanks for joining in with #BAKEoftheWEEK !

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Sarah, you definitely should try it when you get chance,
      thanks for popping by and of course for hosting,
      Angela x

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  9. I spend so much time in Yorkshire that I feel I ought to have tried some Yorkshire Curd Tart by now - Thanks so much for the detailed post explaining your bake. Thanks once again for joining in with #BakeoftheWeek x

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    1. Ooh you definitely need to rectify that when you're next in Yorkshire Helen :-)
      Thanks for popping by and of course for hosting Helen,
      Angela x

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  10. This sounds delicious! I'm not usually a fan of curds and lemon, but you have made this so tasty looking that my mouth is watering. I need to try it! Thanks so much for linking up to #Whateverthweather :) x

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    1. Hahaha :-) It really is delicious Jenny, the lemon sits in the background to bring a little balance to the mixture and the curds as you know don't taste of a great deal....the flavour comes from the nutmeg, currants etc.
      I'd suggest buying a small slice from a tea room etc to see if you liked it before baking one yourself...but sadly there seems to be very few places which make/sell the tart (unless you were in Yorkshire and then you would no doubt have more look in sourcing a slice)
      Thanks for hosting #HowtoSundays,
      Angela x

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  11. Oooh - I love the sound of this, Angela. And what an interesting post. I love how many fascinating foodie details you manage to cram into your posts. I've never heard of this tart before and had no idea people used to celebrate Whitsun to such an extent. Julia Skinner's book sounds so interesting - I'm going to have to see if there is a Sussex version! I'd love to cook some traditional Sussex recipes! Thanks for sharing :-) Eb x

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    1. It's absolutely delicious Eb served with a little cream. It really does seem to have stayed local sadly, unlike our fabulous Yorkshire pudding. Having read a few historic sites about Whitsun, I think that the Yorkshire curd tart making at this time of year simply co-incided with the farming (calving)activities and the cheese making process.
      Julia Skinner's compilation of Yorkshire recipes is a great book....if for nothing more than the interesting old Francis Frith photographs. I'm sure there will be a Sussex book Eb, I'll be interested to see if you share any the recipes :-)
      Thanks for popping by and your lovely comments Eb,
      Angela x

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  12. I've never cooked with curds before (I thought that was only Little Miss Muffet!). Yet another thing to add to my ever growing list to try.

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    1. :-) It's Little Miss Muffet and several fold in Yorkshire...perhaps Little Miss Muffet was a Yorkshire lass ;-) You'll certainly have to try using curds in your cooking Charlotte, they're so easy to create.
      Thanks for popping by,
      Angela x

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  13. I've never had Yorkshire curd tart, I don't think I've actually even heard of it, but it looks really tasty! Love dried fruits in bakes :) #cookblogshare

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    1. Ooh you must give it a try then Stacey, if you like dried fruits in bakes then I'm sure you'll enjoy this :-)
      Thanks for popping by,
      Angela x

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  14. I've just come back to a Scotland after visiting my native Yorkshire. I was lucky enough to find raw milk on sale at the market in Kirkby Lonsdale while I was down there so my thoughts instantly turned to making curd tart, though I've not had it in years. The farm which sells the milk is the Whin Yeat some farm in Cumbria. You can find them on Facebook. They also do a fine line in unpasteurised hard cheeses. I'm afraid I used my gran's recipe, but I thought someone reading this might like to know a source of good milk for curd or cheese making. You definitely get a higher yield with raw milk.

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    1. Thanks Kate, it's good to know that raw milk can still be purchased ...and that your thoughts turned to making a Yorkshire Curd Tart with your milk.
      That's Ok, I always think those old recipes handed down through the family are so precious and should definitely be used.
      Thanks for sharing that information Kate,
      Angela x

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  15. This looks delicious Angela. I had my first curd tart from Bettys a few years ago - so good! I've only tried making them once, but I would have used raw milk as I was lucky enough to have a regular supply for a few years. It's very true how recipes morph. I came across so many variations on Fat Rascals, that I ended up doing my own thing!

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    1. Thankyou Choclette, it's fascinating how recipes morph over the years isn't it. I must admit that I've never tried to make Fat Rascals before, but I can well imagine the same quandry you had.
      Thanks for your lovely comment,
      Angela x

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