Our half term holiday in Wensleydale seems a distant memory now, but this week I made an effort to recreate one of the loveliest parts of the experience - Yorkshire Curd Tarts.
Curd Tarts are a pastry case baked with a delicious sweetened filling comprising of cheese curds, beaten egg and currants. The cheese curds may sound an odd ingredient for a sweet tart, but it's no stranger than eating cheesecake... and indeed a whole lot nicer in my opinion.
We always buy curd tarts when we are in Yorkshire - I don't think they're even available outside the county - but as we are in Yorkshire so rarely I thought it was something that would be well worth making at home.
An authentic recipe such as this one calls for you to make the curds yourself, and believe me this is something that I fully intend to do at some point. However, the shop at which I was buying my ingredients didn't have rennet in stock, so I went for the simpler option of using plain cottage cheese instead.
This works amazingly well. Cottage cheese is fairly bland, but provides just the right ever-so-slightly-sour note to the finished eggy filling. The taste was identical to those we had bought on holiday, so I was very pleased with the finished result.
I chose to make one large tart as I wanted to serve it as a pudding, but individual tarts would also be lovely. I don't know about you though, but I always prefer the filling of tarts to the pastry, so a bigger tart gives a better filling:pastry ratio for my liking!
Yorkshire Curd Tarts
Shortcrust Pastry Case (make your own or buy one, the Food Police are off duty in my kitchen!)
250g plain cottage cheese
50g caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
grated rind of half a lemon
50g currants (raisins or sultanas could be substituted)
Mix all the filling ingredients together and spoon into the pastry case (I blind-baked mine first but I don't think this is essential). Add an extra grating of nutmeg on the top.
Bake at 180C for about 20 minutes, or until the filling is set (less time if making smaller individual tarts). The filling puffs up as it cooks, and may begin to brown in patches, but sinks when taken out of the oven.
Enjoy warm with lashings of cream.
Perfect for enjoying taste of Yorkshire wherever you are in the world. "Cracking Cheese (Curd Tart) Gromit!"