One of the things I love about travel is that I can indulge myself and taste a selection of the foods that the locals eat in the area we are visiting - and then walk off the calories when I'm sightseeing. Thank heavens for good walking sandals.
I sampled Yorkshire curd tarts of all shapes and sizes in several towns and villages during our recent trip to the UK, and must say I was quite taken by them. So, I was keen to try making them once we got back home. Here, I've adapted a recipe by English baker and celebrity chef, Paul Hollywood. 'Tis delicious.
YORKSHIRE CURD TART
For the pastry:
150g plain (AP) flour
2 tablespoons pure icing sugar
75g cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 free-range egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon ice cold water
For the curd filling:
50g vanilla-infused caster sugar
225g ricotta (or curd cheese, if available)
2 free-range eggs, plus 2 free-range egg yolks
zest of a lemon, finely chopped
25g unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground/grated nutmeg
First make the pastry. To do this by hand, sift the flour and the icing sugar into a large bowl. Add the cubed butter and rub it in with your fingers, until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Combine the egg yolk with the lemon juice and water, whisky lightly. Add this to the flour and, using your hands, mix to form a dough.
If the dough feels a little dry, add a teaspoon or two of chilled water. Turn the pastry out onto a board or bench that you've dusted lightly with flour. Form the dough into a ball, taking care not to overwork or knead the dough (as the gluten will develop and it will become tough). Wrap your pastry in cling film and refrigerate it for about 30 minutes.
Lightly grease a 20cm (2-3cm deep) loose bottomed pie dish or tart pan. Dust a board lightly with flour, roll out the pastry, and press it into the base and up the sides of the prepared tin, allowing more pastry at the sides (for shrinkage). Prick the bottom of the pie shell with a fork and chill it under you are ready to bake.
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C. Line the pastry shell with a sheet of baking parchment, pour in some baking beads (or rice), and blind bake the pastry for 15 minutes, then remove the baking paper and beans and pop the pastry back into the oven for 5-8 minutes, until the pastry is golden. Remove it from the oven and allow it to cool.
To make the filling, combine the caster sugar and the ricotta in a large Pyrex jug, and beat until the sugar is incorporated. Beat in the eggs and the extra yolks, followed by the lemon zest and melted butter. Fold in the currants, then pour the filling into the pastry shell and sprinkle with the ground or grated nutmeg. Bake the tart for 20 minutes, until the filling is just set. You can test this by gently inserting the blade of a butter knife.
Allow the tart to cool in the tin, then served sliced. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Serves 6-8. Preparation and cooking time: allow up to two hours.
Tell me dear readers, have you ever tried Yorkshire curd tart? And do you walk everywhere when you're sightseeing?
Cooking and writing have been a lifelong passion.
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.