These traditional tarts – with a delicious dash of brandy – may well be the forerunner to the cheesecake recipes we have today
- 100g (3½oz) butter, diced
- 200g (7oz) plain flour
- 30g (1oz) caster sugar
- 1 medium egg yolk
- For the filling:
- 250g (8oz) curd cheese
- 2 medium eggs, beaten
- 75g (2½oz) caster sugar
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 60g (2oz) currants
- 1 tsp finely chopped mixed peel
- 1 tbsp brandy
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- Icing sugar, for dredging
To make the pastry: Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in sugar, then mix the egg yolk with 2 tablespoons cold water, add to mixture and stir with a round-bladed knife to make a fi rm dough. Knead dough lightly to a disc shape, wrap in cling fi lm and chill while the oven heats up. Set oven to Gas Mark 4 or 180°C.
Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface, fairly thinly (in 2 batches is easier) and cut out rounds to line the patty tins.
To make the filling: Soften the curd cheese in a bowl, then beat in the eggs with the sugar, and stir in the lemon zest, currants, peel and brandy.
Spoon cheese mixture into the pastry cases and grate a little nutmeg on top.
Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes, until the pastry is lightly browned and the filling set. Dust with icing sugar. Serve warm or cold, with cream, if you like.
You can use cottage cheese instead of curd cheese and add 4 tablespoons of single cream. Vanilla extract makes a suitable, non-alcoholic alternative to brandy. To freeze the tartletspack into a plastic tub, interleaved with paper. Seal, label and freeze. Use within 2 months. Allow to thaw, then warm through for serving.