Monday, 18 May 2015

Happy Whituntide! A Yorkshire Curd Tart

Yorkshire Curd Tart

Happy Whitsuntide everybody!

Whitsuntide is traditionally celebrated about 7 weeks after Easter, this year it falls on 24th May.  Today!  That's a coincidence!  My mum informs me that girls would receive a new frock at Whitsuntide.  "Mr E, get your coat, we're off shopping"!  Well, it is traditional!  I don't need much excuse.  If you like, you can read more about Whitsuntide here

Yorkshire Curd Tart made with curds, currants and spiced with nutmeg
I am reliably informed that in parts of Yorkshire it is traditional to offer guests a slice of Yorkshire Curd Tart at Whitsuntide!  I just love hearing about old traditions, it's so interesting to hear what our forefathers did to celebrate different times of the year. Have a read at Evie's website which outlines just how far back the Yorkshire Tart goes.  Evie's recipe is quite different to the one I have here, note to self to try her recipe another day. (I have since tried making Yorkshire Curd tart with curds, and found it to be quite different to this tart but just as delicious.)  Another historical food blog here explains that the curd was traditionally made from the colostrum, the rich, thick, first milk produced after a calf was born! I shall avoid getting on my soap box about that!!

Yorkshire Curd Tart

I really enjoy reading and making new creations, but equally I love making some traditional classics. Now, until just a week or two ago I'd never actually made this delicacy.  I'd enjoyed it quite a few time in tearooms but never taken the time to make our own.  It's a really straight forward and tasty bake. The cheese providing a lovely taste when accompanied with the spice and lemon. The top of the tart did crack a little when removing from the oven, but a dusting with icing sugar disguises that quite nicely!  Of course, you could also make individual curd tarts, though do consider they will require less time in the oven.

Yorkshire Curd Tart

Yorkshire Curd Tart, as the name implies, is traditionally made with curd cheese.  Now, if you find this a little difficult to get hold of, like I did, cottage cheese makes a great substitute. I would strongly recommend using a good quality full fat cottage cheese for this though, we used the one produced by Longley Farm (a large local dairy which has supplied supermarkets, shops and markets for many years).

The pastry is a sweet pastry, and very straight forward.  (Should you require guidance making the pastry, read my page A Guide to Making...Pastry).  When mum & I baked together, we would add caster sugar to the breadcrumb mixture;  I've seen this in many cook books.  But a while ago I saw an episode of a baking programme (can't remember which) hosted by James Martin, and he advocated using icing sugar rather than caster or granulated.  So I made a mental note and gave it a whirl.  I've tried it two or three times since, and it really does make an improved pastry, because there are no granulations in the pastry.  You can't argue with James Martin, a renowned pastry chef!

And should you have any unused pastry remaining, why not make some jam tarts, a pastry turn over (like I did) or even line another tart case, blind bake it and freeze it for another day.

So, as a Whitsuntide tradition, here's the simple bake of Yorkshire Curd Tart.

Yorkshire Curd Tart      Yum
Yield: 2 x 16cm tarts
Serves: Each tart cuts into 6 slices.
Cost: £2.12 per tart, that's 35p per slice.
Difficulty: Easy
Freezable: Sorry, not tested.
Time: around 30 minutes, plus about 40 minutes baking time, and cooling time.
Adapted from: Flavours of Yorkshire

You will need:
2 x 16cm tart cases
For the pastry
170g SR Flour
80g unsalted butter, cold
pinch of salt
1.5 dessert spoons icing sugar
1 egg, beaten
little milk
For the filling
100g caster sugar (or a 50/50 mixture between caster & golden sugar)
0.5 tsp mixed spice
3 large eggs, beaten
1 large lemon, grated zest & juice
45g unsalted butter, melted
500g curd or cottage cheese (full fat)
100g raisins

How to make it
1.  Make the sweet pastry.  Should you need a guide to do this, have a read at my A Guide to Make...Pastry page.

2.  Once made, wrap the pastry in cling film and chill in fridge for at least 15 minutes.

3.  Remove the pastry from the fridge and unwrap. Split the pastry in half.  Shape each half into a ball.  Roll out on a lightly floured work surface.  Line the tart cases, and trim off any excess pastry.

4.  Place the lined tart cases in the fridge for a further 15 minutes to chill.

5.  Pre-heat the oven to 190c / Fan 170c / Gas 5.  Place a baking tray in the oven to be warming.

6.  Make the tart filling.  Place the sugar and spice into a large bowl.  Add the lemon zest and juice, beaten egg and melted butter.  Mix.  Add the curd (or cottage cheese) and mix well.  Add the raisins and mix again.

7.  Remove the lined tart cases from the fridge and place on the warmed baking tray.

8.  Carefully decant the filling into the pastry cases, trying to avoid spilling the filling down the back of the pastry.  Place in the oven and allow to bake for about 35-40 minutes.  You may need to turn the tarts around after 25 to 30 minutes.

9.  Once set and lightly golden, remove from the oven and allow to cool on a rack.

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


  1. I've never had or heard of Yorkshire Curd Tart. It looks so tasty though and just like something I would enjoy. Does it have the texture of cheesecake? The ingredients look similar to some ricotta cheesecakes. Thanks for linking to #CookBlogShare

    1. It's not a pastry dish that I often see in tea rooms or sandwich shops sadly. I don't know if it's because it's fallen out of favour or because it's very regional. Even though we live in Yorkshire, I tend to only find it in 'vintage' and old fashioned tea rooms.
      No, it's not really like cheesecake. It's a little denser than that and not silky smooth. I'm going to try to use Curds (the traditional way of making it) next time I make it to explore the difference. It is very yummy and you can tell there is a cheese in it (but in a nice way). It's nice chilled. And smells divine whilst baking! :)
      Thanks for reading Angela x

      Angela x
      Only Crumbs Remain


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