Hello there! I'm still not up and running in St Louis with blog recipes just yet as I am still getting the apartment sorted and using spare time to explore this amazing city. However, rain has stopped play for Dr Buttery and there is a raging thunderstorm happening outside so this is the perfect opportunity to fill you in on the final recipe I made in Houston.
When I was packing up my stuff in the old apartment I noticed I had all the ingredients for a Yorkshire curd tart just lying about, so I thought I'd conjure one up to take into work for us all to eat whilst we were packing up the laboratory, which also had to move from Texas to Missouri as well as us. I reckoned it would go down well as it is essentially a sort of cheesecake, and cheesecakes are loved all across America. I find it strange that the English too love cheesecake, and yet ignore the ones that come from their own country. We are such weirdoes.
Nobody had heard of this tart at work, but that is no surprise, as most people outside of Yorkshire haven't heard of it either which I think of strange as it is my favourite sweet tart of all time. I had never made one however, as it is very difficult to get your hands on curd cheese these days – and cottage cheese or cream cheese WILL NOT DO, says Griggers. Luckily I had some essence of rennet that I used many moons ago to make the Devonshire junket. I had brought it back with me on my last visit to England at Eastertime. Always thinking, is I.
Woman Milking a Cow by Karel Dujardin
Anyways, if you are to make a proper curd tart, you need to make your curds from the freshly calved mother cow's first milk – called colostrum – which is extra-creamy. Unless you have your own cows, this isn't really practical, so to emulate this use Jersey milk. What I did was use normal whole milk and mixed it with some of the half-and-half I had left over from making the trifle. (Brits: half-and-half is the closest to single cream I can find). Also, proper curd tart should be spiced with allspice (called pimento, I think, in the USA). Here's a little quote that Griggers uses in her introduction to the recipe, though she doesn't source it:
'In this part of Yorkshire, what is called "clove pepper" and known to the southerners as "all-spice" is still largely used to flavour cheesecakes.'
To make the curds, warm the milk and creams, if using, in a pan to 37°C (97°F).
I used around two pints to get just over eight ounces of curds. Take off the heat. Follow the instructions on your rennet and add the appropriate amount to the milk. You can also add a couple of tablespoons of buttermilk too if you have some, though it is not necessary. Leave the curds to develop for a few hours and when they have set pour the lot into some double-layered muslin (cheesecloth), or you could use a clean pillowcase too (as I did). Allow to drip overnight at room temperature. If things are a little blocked up, give the whole thing a stir and a scrape with a plastic spatula.
The curds should also take on a pleasing fresh, mild cheesy smell. Once it is properly drained, put the curds in a dish and refrigerate.
Now you have made the curds, you can make the tart filling…
First of all line an 8-10 inch tart tin with shortcrust pastry. Next cream together 4 ounces of butter and 2 ounces of sugar in a bowl before stirring in 8 ounces of your curd cheese, 4 ounces of raisins or currants, a rounded tablespoon of wholemeal breadcrumbs, a pinch of salt, two beaten eggs and a good amount of allspice or nutmeg. Pour this into your pastry case and bake in the oven at 220°C (425°F) for 20 to 30 minutes. Easy!
#301 Yorkshire Curd Tart. This transported me straight back to Yorkshire and my childhood! This recipe is amazing, and I am so glad I made it. I wonder why it took me so long to get around to making it? The centre was moist and sweetened by the dried fruit rather than copious sugar. It is the "clove-pepper" that is the secret ingredient of course; be bold with it, you need at least a good half-teaspoon. A delicious tart that is going into my repertoire! 9.5/10.