Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Manchester Tart from England

My friend Tracy Booth said, "Seeing you are making things from all around the world, why not have a go at making a Manchester Tart?"  Obviously she's from Manchester.  Always up for a challenge, I thought why not.  Manchester Tart was a staple in school dinners and obviously brought back good memories for Tracy.  When I researched the recipe I found several variations and eventually decided to up it a notch from the school dinner variety and make it more contemporary and adult.  Tracy was pleased with the result.  I did the tart justice!  In reality all a Manchester Tart is, is a deconstructed trifle.  Or maybe a trifle is a deconstructed Manchester Tart?
The Pastry Base
3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
The Filling Layers
1/2 cup strawberry jam
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons martini bianco or other spirit
2 tablespoons butter
2 bananas sliced
The Custard
3 cups milk
4 egg yolks
4 tablespoons sugar
5 heaped tablespoons custard powder
The Topping
1/4 cup desiccated coconut
8 boozy cherries
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Cream the butter and sugar for the pastry base.  When it is light and fluffy add in the egg and beat it some more.  Fold in the flour and baking powder.  You will have a very soft sticky dough that is too thick for a batter but too soft for a dough.  Sort of like a cookie dough.  Grease a baking tin and spread your base mixture evenly over the bottom, using the back of a spoon.  Pop it into the oven to bake for about 15 minutes, or until it turns golden.  Take it out the oven and set it aside to cool while you move onto caramelising your bananas.  Slice your bananas.  Put the sugar into the frying pan and allow it to caramelise.  Add the butter and spirits and give it a good stir.  Throw in the sliced bananas, and keep spooning the mixture over them so that they are completely coated with it and caramelised.  Smooth the strawberry jam over the baked pastry in the baking tin.  If you don't have strawberry jam you can use another type of jam.  I made a strawberry, whiskey and lime jam for this recipe.  Spoon the caramelised bananas over the jam and make sure it's evenly distributed.  Cover with plastic wrap and pop it into the fridge while you make your custard.  Put the milk in a pot and bring to the boil, making sure you keep an eye on it so that it doesn't boil over.  In a small bowl, mix the egg yolks, sugar and custard powder together.  Pour in a little of the boiled milk so that you get an 'easy-to-pour' consistency.  Pour the custard mixture into the boiled milk and stir it until it thickens, making sure that you don't let lumps form.  A lumpy custard is no good.  Reduce the heat and cook the custard until it's very thick.  Pour the custard onto the caramelised banana layer.  Sprinkle the tart with the desiccated coconut and decorate with the boozy cherries.  I made my own boozy cherries by boiling up fresh cherries, sugar and sweet red wine.
Cut into generous slices and serve.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living and working in Kyiv, Ukraine.  She is the author of Hush Baby, Defective, C U @ 8, Not Telling and The Case of Billy B.  All her books are available on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback formats.  http://cindyvine.com

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