The sun’s out – must be Manchester tart time.
I don’t know about you, but I am definitely not a winter month person.
For me the sun needs to be out, and the days need to be long and glorious.
This is precisely the time of year when I fill my lungs with the air of summer and trudge the beautiful countryside Lancashire has to offer.
We are very lucky in this part of the country with access to some of the most beautiful countryside right on our doorstep.
After wearing yourself out it’s nice to then tuck into something special.
For this Northern lad a generous wedge of a seriously jammy Manchester tart is what defines a true dessert.
I am not going to lie but Manchester tart is one of my favorites. Very easy to make, hits all the sweet spots and keeps well in the fridge for the next day.
It was the staple of my 80s school dinners and perfect for the warm summer days.
Failsworth claims to be the home of Manchester tart and is based upon the Manchester pudding, as featured in some Victorian cookbooks.
Being on Bake off has made me into a bit of a jam snob and usually make my own.
My redcurrant jam is to die for.
Fresh jam has a tartness that is quite unique.
For this recipe you can of course use ready-made raspberry jam but it is good to get into the habit of making your own.
I have a technique which will serve you well.
Don’t worry about using cling film whilst blind baking to hold the baking beans. It is far more convenient than using parchment paper.
To get the firmness of the custard I always make a crème pattisiere. Ready made custard is inconsistent and lacks the smooth flavor of crème pat.
You will need a loose bottomed nine-inch flan tin.
Manchester Tart – Serves 6
For the sweet pastry – 200g Plain flour, 1tbsp icing sugar, 125g butter, one egg yolk
For the Raspberry jam – 150g fresh raspberries, 130g granulated sugar
For the Crème Pattisiere – one pint whole milk, four large eggs, whisked 40g cornflour, 130g caster sugar, 30g cold butter, 1tsp vanilla paste (or essence)
For the topping – handful of desiccated coconut, five glace cherries halved method 1.
Make the pastry. Combine the dry ingredients with the butter until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. A food mixer makes it easier.
Add the egg yolk and about 2tbsp cold water. Knead to a smooth dough. Wrap in cling film and chill in fridge.
2. Make the jam. Add fruit to a medium sized saucepan with about 40ml of water (3tbsp). Gently heat until fruit has broken down. Add the sugar and mix well. Turn heat to medium. When the mixture comes to a boil do not touch it. Keep on a rolling boil for five minutes exactly. Take off heat and leave to cool in a bowl (or a jar if you intend to keep it for later).
3. Turn oven onto 180 degrees fan. Grease the flan tin. Take out pastry from the fridge and roll it so it covers the flan tin. Use a lump of pastry dough to press down into the edges and corners. Level out the top with a rolling pin. Line the inside with cling film and enough so it hangs over. Fill the inside with baking beans and cover the beans with the excess cling film. Blind bake for 15 minutes. Take out of oven and remove the parcel of cling film with the baking beans. Bake for another 10 minutes until it turns a pale golden. Leave to cool.
4. Make the cream pattisiere. Heat milk on a medium heat. In a large bowl mix the cornflour with the eggs and sugar. Just before the milk turns to a boil turn off the heat. Add a small quantity of hot milk to the eggs mixture and whisk thoroughly. Keep adding the milk and whisking until all the milk has been added. Transfer the mixture to the saucepan on a medium heat. Add vanilla. When it becomes thick add the butter and keep stirring on the heat for about two minutes. The custard will be glossy and taste divine. Leave to cool completely.
5. Assemble the tart. Line the base of the pastry with approx. 170g of the raspberry jam. Carefully spoon the crème pattisiere over the jam until it is nearly to the top and even. Cover with the desiccated coconut and decorate with the cherries. That’s it. You’re done.
Chill before serving. It’ll keep in the fridge covered for about 2 days.