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Manchester Tart Recipe

A relatively-modern development of a pudding, listed by Mrs. Beeton, in which the jam in this version formed the bottom layer of the dessert, to be followed by the flavoured milk and breadcrumb mixture, then topped with puff pastry.

We give the version now more usually found, in which a shortcrust pastry base is topped with a meringue mixture. The Victorian's would have used any jam to hand, and the poorer classes would have omitted the brandy and probably used lard rather than butter.

Manchester Tart should be served at room temperature, perhaps with custard or some mixed fresh fruit.

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Key Features

  • Suitable for Vegetarians


For 6 slices:
1 Batch of Shortcrust Pastry (q.v.) or 300gr/10 oz Bought Pastry – try to find one made with butter
1 tablespoon (15ml) Soft Butter
4 tablespoons (60ml) Jam – Apricot, Damson, Plum, Raspberry, Strawberry – make your choice
300ml/ ½ pint Milk
The grated Zest of 1 Unwaxed Lemon
60gr/2 oz freshly-grated Breadcrumbs
60gr/2 oz Butter – soft, but not melted
60gr/2 oz Caster Sugar
2 medium Eggs, separated into yolks & whites
½ teaspoon (2ml) Ground Mixed Spice

Equipment needed: 1 x 23cm/9 in Flan Tin, loose bottomed if possible


1. Butter the flan tin, then roll out the pastry into a circle and line the tin.
2 Prick the pastry base all over with the prongs of a fork and chill for an hour (or longer) before proceeding.
3. Heat the oven to 400ºF/200ºC/Gas 6.
4. Line the cold pastry tin with either tin foil or greaseproof paper then weight this down with rice or dried beans (which you can keep specially for the purpose & reuse) and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove the foil/greaseproof covering, then bake for a further 5 minutes.
5. Remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 300ºF/150ºC/Gas 2.
6. Cover the base of the tart with your chosen jam. If this has bits, perhaps whole strawberries, chop them up.
7. Heat the milk with the lemon zest until it’s hot but not quite boiling, then remove it from the heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
8. Put the breadcrumbs in a bowl and slowly blend in the hot milk and mix into a consistent mixture.
9. In another bowl, mix the butter with half the sugar, then add the egg yolks and ground mixed spice.
10. Add this butter mixture to the milk and breadcrumbs and mix all together.
11. Cover the jam with this mixture and bake for 40 minutes.
12. Remove from the oven and increase the heat to 375ºF/190ºC/Gas 5.
13. Beat the egg whites until they are stiff and hold peaks, then while still beating, add the remaining sugar.
14. Spread this mixture to cover the top of the tart.
15. Return the tart to the oven and bake for a further 10 minutes or until the meringue is starting to go golden.

Allow to cool, and serve at room temperature.

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