There's one pudding that Yorkshire is particularly well-known for, but that's not the only specialty to come out of God's Own Country. We have such fond memories of eating little curd tarts fresh from the baker's shop after school, and it's one recipe that's never taken off much around the UK let alone in America. We've had a craving for them lately, so we might as well share this recipe so you can try them for yourself!
Make sure you start to prepare these in advance, as unless you can get fresh milk curds from a local dairy or farm shop (which are few and far between in many areas) you'll be needing to make your own. The recipe also calls for a dash of rennet, but in case you can't source any (or don't want to) we'll provide an alternative!
You will need:
2 pints full cream milk (as fresh as you can get it!)
2 tbsp rennet OR 1 lemon, juiced
1 large egg, well beaten
4 oz unsalted butter
4 oz fine sugar
4 oz total seedless raisins and/or currants
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 pie crust
To make the curds:
Place the full cream milk into a saucepan and gently bring to about 98°F. Remove from the heat and stir in the rennet (or lemon juice) and leave in a cool place to set. Not too cool through, definitely not the fridge!
Once cooled and set, gently break up the mixture using a fork, into fairly large chunks. Line a large sieve or colander with fine muslin or cheesecloth and place over a large bowl.
Spoon the chunks of curd into the sieve or colander and leave to drain for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight. Discard the whey once done, unless you've got a local Miss Muffet who wants it. It's important that the curds are well drained when it comes to making the filling, or it'll go all soggy and off-putting.
To make the tart:
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Unpack your pie crust (or, if you're making your own like us, roll it out into a thin sheet). Grease and line a large tart tin with the pastry or cut into smaller sections and line a tin for smaller individual-sized tarts. Prick the bottom of the pastry plentifully with a fork. Line the tart case(s) with baking paper and fill with baking beans. Cook for 15 minutes or until the pastry is a pale golden colour. Leave to cool.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy and light and pale in colour. Tip the curd mixture from the sieve/colander into the creamed butter; add the beaten egg and nutmeg and beat well until all the ingredients are incorporated. Finally, stir in the raisins and/or currants. If you want a lighter texture to your tart, you can also stir in a heaped tablespoon of white breadcrumbs at this time.
Pour the curd mixture into the prepared tart case and bake in the oven for 30 minutes until golden brown.
Leave the tart to cool, then serve as soon as possible. The tarts are best eaten fresh and warm, and within 24 hours at most. Make sure to do all of your prep beforehand and plan ahead!