Manchester tart


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • For



Appears in

Oats in the North, Wheat from the South: The history of British Baking, savoury and sweet

Oats in the North, Wheat from the South

By Regula Ysewijn

Published 2020

  • About

This tart was once very popular in schools, where it was served for pudding. In 19th-century recipes, the filling was thickened with breadcrumbs and although this is also very good and more filling, I find this 20th-century version just a little more delicate. The custard is slightly richer than the custard tarts on the previous pages, and the desiccated coconut and single cherry are essential for a retro look.


For the shortcrust pastry

  • 250 g (9 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 100 g ( oz) icing (confectioners’) sugar
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 125 g ( oz) chilled butter, diced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp water
  • desiccated coconut, to garnish
  • glacé cherry, to garnish
  • butter, for greasing
  • flour, for dusting

For the custard filling

  • 1 egg
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 200 ml (7 fl oz) full-cream milk
  • 200 ml (7 fl oz) cream, with at least 40% fat
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 100 g ( oz) raw (demerara) sugar
  • 2 tbsp raspberry jam


For a 22 cm (8½ inch) tart tin

Make the shortcrust pastry by combining the flour, sugar, salt and butter in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse for 8 seconds or until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg and water and pulse again until the dough forms a ball in the bowl. Remove from the bowl and knead briefly. Wrap the pastry in plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, or make it one day in advance.

Butter and flour the tart tin. Roll out the pastry on a floured work surface. Gently lift the dough over the tin and let it sink into the base. Use a piece of excess dough to firmly press the edge into the tin. Trim the excess pastry with a knife and then pierce the base with a fork. Freeze the tart shell for 1 hour or refrigerate for a few hours.

Preheat your oven to 200°C (400°F).

Crumple up a piece of baking paper, then smooth it out and place it in the tart shell. This will help the paper fit the shape of the tart. Fill the pastry with baking beads or rice and place in the middle of the oven to bake blind for 10 minutes until the edge of the crust is coloured. Remove the paper and beads or rice and bake for another 5 minutes to dry it out. Allow the tart base to cool.

Reduce the oven to 180°C (350°F).

For the custard filling, beat the egg and egg yolks in a large bowl. In a large pan, heat the milk and cream with the lemon zest and sugar. Bring to the boil and make sure the sugar is completely dissolved. Pour a little of the hot milk mixture into the eggs and beat well; this prepares the eggs for the warm milk mixture. Pour the rest of the milk into the eggs while whisking continuously to make a smooth sauce.

Pour the mixture back into the pan and stir over low heat until the filling becomes heavier on the spoon and starts to thicken. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly while you spread the pastry base with the raspberry jam.

Pour the custard over the raspberry jam and bake in the middle of the oven for 20-25 minutes until the filling has set but still wobbles a little when you shake the tart.

Place the tart on a wire rack and sprinkle with the coconut. The lone glace cherry in the middle is optional and pure retro nostalgia.