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Manchester Tart

Introduction & method

This is pure nostalgic comfort food. I had this at school at least once a week, but never actually knew what it was called. The first mention of it, as 'Manchester Pudding' is in Mrs Beeton's cookbook. Sometimes it has sliced bananas in it, and if you're lucky, you get a cherry on the top too.

Manchester Tart Recipe

Make the Pastry

Make sure your butter is cold, and cut it into small cubes. Mix the sugar and flour together, then rub in the butter with your fingertips. And the egg yolk and water and mix/knead it until it comes together in a ball. You can add more water if you're struggling to make it cohere. Wrap in plastic film and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 160°C (320°F) for a fan oven, 180°C (356°F) coventional, gas mark 4. Butter the inside of a flan tin with a removable bottom. When the pastry has rested, sprinkle flour onto your worktop and rolling pin, and roll the dough out into a disc that is somewhat larger than your tin. Loosely roll the pastry around your rolling pin, then unroll it across the tin. Use a spare bit of pastry to press the dough into the tin, and loosely trim off the excess. Leave a bit of a margin, because the pastry will shrink a little during baking. Prick the bottom of the pastry all over with a fork.

Blind-bake the Pastry

Take a piece of greaseproof paper that's larger than the baking tin, and scrunch it up well. Unscrunch it and use it to line the pastry. Pour baking beans or rice into the paper. Bake the shell initially for 10 minutes. Remove it from the oven and take out the paper and beans/rice. Put the shell back in for another 10-15 minutes. It should be golden-brown and the bottom should feel firm. Set the shell aside to cool.

Make the Custard

Because we want the custard to set, we need to use twice the quantity of custard powder than you would use for pouring custard. Mix the sugar and custard powder together. Add the same volume of milk as custard powder (take it from the main measurement of milk), and stir well until it forms a thickish paste. In a saucepan, slowly heat the milk until it is almost boiling. Pour the hot milk over the custard paste and mix well. Return to the pan and simmer gently until the mixture thickens. Pour it into a jug, cover with plastic film, and let it cool down.

Assemble the Tart

When the custard is somewhat cool, we can build the tart. Spread the jam evenly over the bottom of the pastry. If you are using sliced banana, arrange them in a single layer covering all the jam. Now fill up the case with custard, evenly sprinkle the top with dessicated coconut, and arrange glacé cherries on top. It's best to add the cherries at this stage, because they won't stick later on. Put the assembled tart in the fridge and leave it until the custard has set completely - this will take several hours.

The video above is from the Keef Cooks YouTube channel. Click here to see the video recipe of Manchester Tart on YouTube.

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Ingredients & Info

 250 grams plain white (all-purpose) flour
 125 grams unsalted butter
 50 grams caster (powdered) sugar
 1 egg yolk
 1-2 tbsp cold water
 1 litre milk
 60 grams custard powder
 80 grams sugar
 2-3 tbsp raspberry jam
 1-2 tbsp dessicated coconut
 a few glacé cherries


Optional - 2 bananas, sliced.

US Customary/Imperial

Serves 8 
Prep time: 10 minutes.
Cooling/setting time: 2 hours.
Cooking time: 45 minutes.
Total time: 2 hours 55 minutes.