Tarts and Pastries
Tarts are lighter than puddings and usually eaten cold, maybe with a little cream or iced cream.
Jam tarts are probably the best known of them all. Any kind of jam can be used, but strawberry, raspberry, bramble (blackberry) and apricot are the most common. These are usually eaten on their own with a cup of tea.
This is made from egg yolks, sugar and fruit which is then boiled down to a thick mix. Whilst lemon curd is the most common and, as far as I know the only version available commercially, you can make a curd tart out of just about any fruit. Lemon curd is commonly available in jars and so can be used in a variety of ways.
Of medieval origin, these are made with frangipane, giving them a wonderful almond flavour, which is then encased in a shortcrust pastry with jam on the bottom and topped with almond flakes. Eaten on its own or with a little cream. The little tartlets are a common commercial version and are topped with icing sugar and a cherry. The picture on the right is of a Bakewell Pudding which is different, being made with eggs, jam and ground almonds.
This is a traditional baked tart consisting of a shortcrust pastry shell, spread with raspberry jam, covered with a custard filling and topped with flakes of coconut and a Maraschino cherry.
A wonderful combination of pear and almond. A variation is to marble the frangipane with chocolate. Serve with cream.
Nice served with cream or custard.
Egg custard is made from the traditional custard recipe but with the addition of eggs and then baked, usually with a little nutmeg on top. It is a very traditional English dish and is eaten in a variety of ways. Egg custard tarts remain very popular.
Not to be confused with lemon curd, this is made with real curds. A regional dish from eastern Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, but not well known outside this area. As an alternative to egg custard, it’s a real treat when you can get it. Alternatively, make it yourself. It’s actually not that difficult.
The custard tart has evolved into sometimes very elaborate fruit tarts.
Plum and Greengage
Nicely sweet, with a hint of tartness, this is a lovely combination. Greengages, are not that easily available but are very nice and much sweeter than their colour suggests.
Another winning combination that sets the tartness of the fruit against the sweetness of the custard.
St Clement’s Pie
Oranges and lemons said the bells of St Clement’s in the old nursery rhyme and oranges and lemons form the basis of this traditional dessert.
Made with a puff pastry and filled with currants and topped with sugar. A regional variation, which is slightly flatter, is the Banbury cake – picture on the right.
Hailing from the town of Chorley in Lancashire, this I s similar to an Eccles cake but less sweet. It is traditionally eaten with a slice of cheese on top – Lancashire of course!
No Christmas is complete without at least one mince pie. These are made entirely from dried fruits, but their medieval ancestor did include minced meat – hence the name.