Guest Post: The Manchester Tart


June 27, 2011 by Dana

Because it’s Monday.  Because I love you.  And because it’s delicious, today I have a treat in store for you.

Actually, that’s not entirely true.  I don’t personally have a treat for you, per se.  But Holly does!

Holly, author of My BlogJect, so generously offered to do a guest post for me (and you!) after I posted my27×27 list.  I’m so glad she did, because the dessert post she is contributing today is definitely something I never would have made…. because I had never heard of it!

Read on for her post, and the delicious looking Manchester Tart recipe!

Thanks, Holly!


I approached Dana via her blog stating that I would love to write a guest post for her in order for her to achieve one of her goals on her 27 @ 27 list. Luckily for me, she emailed and said we were on! Hence, me posting here, loud and proud on Dana’s blog.

I was so happy, that I, the relatively novice blogger and unseasoned baker, had a chance to write a guest post on Dana’s wonderful Food for Thought Blog. I did a little celebratory dance to myself, before remembering I still hadn’t yet decided what I wanted to actually guest post about…

I had a few aims for my post; I wanted it to be something that the majority of readers may not have heard of, something very classically British, obviously something baked-good shape (I have a new baking passion) and something I knew is a crowd-pleaser with appeal to the masses! I also wanted to make something that I myself had not baked before. This may sound like an odd way to go about a guest post, but I wanted to relay a typical account of a first attempt at baking this dish. Obviously, in my mind, I had an ambition of it being a perfect baking attempt, but alas, as the continuing post shows, this baking session wasn’t without a few errors, but despite these trials, the results are still delicious (even if I do say so myself)! 

So, to the dish in question which I’ve chosen to base my guest post on. The Manchester Tart. I’ve lived in Manchester for nearly 2 years and have been wanting to make it all this time, so finally I have a great reason to do so!

It is a traditional English tart originating from Manchester and a classic on school dinner menus. It’s a relatively simple tart mainly consisting of pastry, jam and custard. It’s probably a more traditional winter pudding, but as you serve it cold, as long as you’re hungry and hankering for a bowl of comfort this is still a great year-round pudding!

I used a recipe from the BBC Food website. I skipped a few steps of the method as I was on a rather tight timescale and didn’t possess any greaseproof paper or ceramic baking beans. [Despite my tasty results, aesthetically my tart wasn’t exactly like others I have seen, so I do recommend following these steps in order to produce the more perfect looking tart.]

The following recipe is taken from the original, with my notes added into it. It makes about 8 servings, although maybe a couple more it you don’t have big servings.

I’d say it is best to allow about an hour to prepare the pastry, base layer and custard sections of the method below. After this you need to allow at least a half an hour wait time for the custard to fully cool.

The assembly stage only takes a couple of minutes to do and can be done just before serving. The recipe advises to serve straight away once assembled, which I did. However, I would strongly advise to allow for some further fully assembled setting time! I prefer a firmer Manchester Tart so this would allow it to do so. If you can, make this up to a day in advance to the complete assembled stage and allow it to fully set and serve from the fridge. It keeps nicely for at three days in the fridge, and I’m sure a bit longer if you don’t find yourself devouring it all in one go!


Butter, for greasing
500g/1lb 2oz ready-made shortcrust pastry
Plain flour, for dusting
200g/7oz raspberry jam
3 tbsp desiccated coconut, plus 3 tbsp desiccated coconut, toasted* in a dry frying pan until golden-brown, to serve
300g/11oz fresh raspberries
500ml/17fl oz full-fat milk
1 vanilla pod, split, seeds scraped out with a knife
5 free-range egg yolks
125g/4½oz caster sugar
4 heaped tsp cornflour
2 tbsp icing sugar, for dusting
400ml/14floz double cream, whipped until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed

*Toasting the coconut happens very quickly, so keep an eye on it. It’s a matter of seconds in a hot pan.


1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Grease a container with butter. The recipe suggests a 10inch tart tin, but I used a glass dish approximately 12″ by 8″.  

Pastry Case

2. Roll out the shortcrust pastry onto a lightly floured work surface to a 0.5cm/¼in thickness. Line the prepared tart tin with the pastry. Prick the pastry several times with a fork, then chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

3. When the pastry case has rested, place a sheet of baking parchment into it and half-fill with baking beans. Transfer the pastry case to the
oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until pale golden-brown.

4. Remove the baking parchment and baking beans and return the pastry case to the oven for a further 4-5 minutes, or until pale golden-brown.

* I highly recommend following steps 2 to 4 to the method above. These are the stages I had to omit for time reasons, thinking they may not be too crucial. They are! My tart had a pastry bottom, rather than case as the side slumped. The taste is still great but aesthetically it wasn’t the same. (I will be honest with you all, I almost cried on first sight when I took it out the oven before deciding it was ok really and carrying on!)

Base Layers

5. Spread the raspberry jam onto the pastry base in an even layer. Sprinkle over the three tablespoons of non-toasted desiccated coconut and half of the fresh raspberries. Set the pastry base aside.


6. Bring the milk, vanilla pod and vanilla seeds to the boil in a pan, then reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer for 1-2 minutes. Remove the vanilla pod (it can be cleaned thoroughly and reused in another recipe).

7. In a bowl, beat together the egg yolks and sugar until well combined.

8. Pour the hot milk and vanilla mixture over the egg and sugar mixture, whisking continuously, until the mixture is smooth and well combined. Return the mixture to the pan over a medium heat. Whisk in the cornflour, a teaspoon at a time, until well combined, then heat, stirring continuously until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon.

*It gets very thick quite suddenly. Keep a close eye on it and do not keep on the heat to long once the thickening process kicks in. 

9. Transfer the custard mixture to a clean bowl and dust with the icing sugar (this prevents a skin from forming on the surface of the custard). Set aside to cool, then chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

*See my notes at the start regarding assembly stage. I would advise assembling ahead of serving and leaving to set for up to a day. Do step 13 just as serving to keep the coconut crunch!

10. Whisk the whipped double cream into the chilled custard mixture until well combined.

11. Spoon the custard and cream mixture into the pastry case in an even layer. Sprinkle over the remaining fresh raspberries.

12. To serve, sprinkle over the three tablespoons of toasted desiccated coconut. 

There we have it.   A Manchester Tart recipe, with notes from a Manchester Girl! Enjoy!

21 thoughts on “Guest Post: The Manchester Tart

  1. Debbi Smith says:

    Wow, that looks fantastic! Can I have some for dessert tonight? :-)

  2. Faith says:

    Fantastic guest post! This tart looks incredible with all the different flavors in there!

  3. I’ve never heard of a Manchester tart, but it looks lovely! :) Raspberries and custard wrapped in pastry? Oh yes!

  4. […] I won’t post a picture as there is plenty to enjoy over at Dana’s blog, so please, if you’re interested/curious at what this Manchester Tart is all about go and take a peek at Dana’s blog for my guest post! […]

  5. Joanne says:

    What a super fabulous guest post! And damn I’m pretty much in love with this dessert! All of those layers of deliciousness…

  6. This. sounds. amazing. Raspberries + custard + pastry? Totally my kind of dessert!

  7. That looks wonderful! Go Holly!

  8. Oh that looks beyond amazing.

  9. My husband would love this. It looks absolutely delicious!

  10. Congrats on your first guest post Holly..that is one amazing pie…I never heard the name before but it sure looks yummy

  11. That looks totally delicious! Great post!

  12. Liz says:

    Wow, I’ve never heard of this either…but what a fabulous dessert! Thanks so much, Holly, for sharing with us all~

  13. biz319 says:

    Great guest post – I’ve never heard of that dish before, but really anything with puff pastry and I am in! :D

  14. Danielle says:

    wow great guest post–so interesting! A fun recipe too that I definitely want to try. Dana, nice going :) you picked a great first guest blogger!!!

  15. Tes says:

    Beautiful guest post :) The tart looks divine!

  16. Monet says:

    What a lovely guest post. This is such a unique recipe! Thank you for sharing with me. Visiting your blog is a great way to start my morning. I hope you have a wonderful Wednesday full of good food and laughter. Hugs from Austin!

  17. Holly, I really love Manchester Tart but I’m used to having one that’s small enough to fit in my hand. This is really the next level!

    Great idea for a guest post!

  18. This looks beautiful, thank you so much for the recipe. I may have to make this for my husband and I this weekend :)

  19. I love your blog.. very nce colors & theme. Did you design this website yourself
    or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz
    reply as I’m looking to construct my own blig and would like to know where u got
    this from. kudos

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