We’re proud to be celebrating Yorkshire Day here at Yorkshire Bylines with a Yorkshire curd tart recipe. Yorkshire Day is an anniversary to acknowledge the heroism of the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry at the Battle of Minden in 1759 and the law for the emancipation of slaves in 1834, which came about largely thanks to the efforts of Yorkshire MP, William Wilberforce.
The idea of Yorkshire Day was revived by the Yorkshire Ridings’ Society in 1975.
Next to Yorkshire puddings, homemade Yorkshire curd tart is prized above the rest in God’s own country. Baked for Whitsuntide, when there were feasts and fair days across Yorkshire villages, cooks used leftover curds from cheese making.
The filling for the pastry case is made from curd cheese and flavoured with currants, allspice and rosewater. It’s also said that the filling was originally made using the very rich first milk called ‘beestings’ drawn from cows after they had given birth.
Recipe for Yorkshire curd tart
Makes a 10 inch/25 cm Yorkshire curd tart or 12 small Yorkshire curd tartlets
6oz/175g shortcrust pastry
3oz/75g caster sugar
8oz/250g curd cheese
2 eggs, beaten
¼ to ½ tsp ground allspice or nutmeg
1 tsp rosewater (optional)
How to make
Line a dish or pie plate (or individual tartlets if preferred) with the pastry. Allow to rest while making the filling. Mix the curds, currants, lemon zest and allspice (or nutmeg) together. Beat the eggs and add to the mixture. Melt the butter and add to the mixture with the sugar. Pour the mixture into the pastry shell and bake in a moderate oven 180C (fan 160C)/gas mark 4/350F for 20-25 minutes until set. Allow to cool before serving.
Queens Mill recipe for Yorkshire curd tart
Or try the distinguished recipe from Queens Mill Castleford cook book entitled Born and Bred. You can use their special Castleford stoneground flour to make wholewheat pastry. They have kindly allowed me to reproduce the recipe here.
Queen’s Mill Yorkshire curd tart recipe
200g/8oz wholewheat pastry
200g/8oz curd cheese
50g/2oz caster sugar
25g/1oz unsalted butter, melted
2 free range eggs
2 free range egg yolks
1 lemon, zest only
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
How to make
Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Roll out the pastry in a lightly floured surface to about the thickness of a pound coin and use it to line the tart tin, leaving excess pastry hanging over the edge. Keep a little uncooked pastry back in case you need to patch any cracks later.
Line the pastry case with baking parchment or foil, then fill with baking beans. Bake blind for 15 minutes, then remove the parchment and beans and return the pastry to the oven for about eight minutes or until the pastry looks dry and faintly coloured. Use a small, sharp knife to trim away the excess pastry from the edge, use a tiny bit of the reserved raw pastry to patch any cracks or holes if necessary. Turn the oven down to 180C/gas mark 4.
To make the filling, beat the sugar and curd cheese together until smooth, then beat in the eggs and egg yolks, lemon zest and melted butter. Stir in the currants. Pour the filling into the pastry case and grate a little nutmeg over the surface. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the filling is just set.
You can get curd cheese at most cheese stores, delis, large supermarkets and online suppliers but this is not an ingredient to substitute so don’t replace with cottage cheese or ricotta as it doesn’t give the same taste or texture!
Finally, wherever you are on Yorkshire Day, check out the Yorkshire recipes on Yorkshire Bylines and enjoy a taste of God’s own country!