Military Tarts

Tart 1

Prince George, 2nd Duke of Cambridge (1819-1904), Commander in Chief British Army 1856 to 1895.

He is the person my first tart is named for. All those of you expecting ladies of a certain ancient profession waiting for business on street corners in garrison towns…shame on you.

Back to tarts.

When I was a little girl this was standard picnic fare, but I haven’t eaten or made it in years, but an article on the above gentleman in “Soldiers of the Queen” ( Journal of the Victorian Military Society  http://www.victorianmilitarysociety.org.uk/ ), brought it back to me.

There is no written recipe, it is probably one of those many dishes handed down to us by my Great Granny Pittock. I’ve no idea where she got them from, but I suspect Eliza Acton’s “Modern Cookery for Private Families”. There was a fashion in Victorian times for naming dishes and treats after the famous names of the time. One day, when I’m feeling brave and in need of more calories than are good for me, I will attempt Duke of Connaught Pudding.

Back to Duke of Cambridge Tart. This is a very simple recipe and doesn’t sound promising, but it is very good and delicious.

Line a tart/flan tin with short crust pastry.

Take 130 grams of self raising flour, 130 grams of castor sugar, 130 grams of cooking spread and two large eggs and beat them together. This is the quick easy all in one method, but you can do it the old fashioned way if you don’t have an mixer.

To this add about 130 grams of currants (approx. I tend to add them until I think it looks right) and the grated zest of one large (or two small) lemons.

Put the sponge mix into the pastry case and bake at 180 C for about 30 mins or until the cake part is well risen and a toothpick comes out clean.

Juice your zested lemon and using 150 grams of icing sugar and use it to make a thin glace icing. When the tart is cooled, but still just a little warm pour the lemon icing over the top and leave to set.

Eat! With or without custard or cream, it is delicious just on its own with a cup of tea.

Tart 2.

Emboldened by the successful remembrance of how to make the above, I wondered about variations.

I did just the same as before, but this time I added 140 grams of sultanas, 150 grams of chopped walnuts and the grated zest of an orange, keeping back half a teaspoonful for the icing.

I baked it just the sane way and made the icing the same only just orange juice and the reserved zest (orange juice doesn’t have the same amount of flavour as lemon).

I have to say, it was a bit of a triumph, it must have been because the military historian and number one son seemed to have no trouble at all in making it disappear.

What I need now is a name for it. I want something military and Victorian, but I don’t want any of the obvious names. So, I am open to suggestions. Please message me your ideas and the reasons why.

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A Pudding c.1850

lemons

I feel the need to share a recipe, I have these moments, it comes from a need to feed people. There’s nothing I like more than a load of folks sitting around my kitchen table tucking in to something warm out of the oven

Now brace yourselves, you are going to look at the list of ingredients and go “yuck!”, but trust me. This recipe has been handed down through five generations of my family, from my 2x Great Gran who was born in 1841, but for all I know it may be older than that.

I’ve had to work out the weight of ingridents, because it came down to me as “a bit of that and a handful of this and a smidgen of that.”. One day someone will tell me just how much a “smidgen” is, I’d love to know.

I did do some research and think I found something very like this in Eliza Acton’s ” Modern Cooking for Private Families” first published in 1845, so it could be that Jessie got it from there.

However it began, this is what has come down the family

500 grams of raw potato. these must be the white floury type, not the waxy salad ones.

(There’s your “yuck” moment. She promised us pudding and now she is talking spuds)

140 grams of unsalted butter

140 grams of castor sugar

2 large eggs, beaten

a pinch of salt

the grated zest of 2 lemons

the juice of one lemon

200 grams of currants

200 grams of sultanas

nutmeg, freshly grated.

Boil the potatoes in unsalted water until they are tender and then mash until they are very, very smooth.

Allow to cool for a few minutes; then beat in the butter, the lemon juice and zest, the sugar and the eggs.

The mixture will be very liquid.

Now fold in the dried fruit.

Pour everything into a well buttered baking dish and cook in a moderate oven for 20-25 minutes. It should be set, but still have a slight wobble in the middle.

The original recipe doesn’t include this, but I like to sprinkle the whole thing with sugar and caramelise it. You can do this under the grill, but I’ve got a culinary blow torch and there is nothing more fun than powering ti up and torching something.

Serve in slices with or without cream. It is at its best warm, but cold is pretty good as well.

Kitchen 10: Marmalade Ice Cream!

I love marmalade, I like that grown up bitter sweet flavour and the freshness if orange that its able to retain.

Here in England it’s at this time of year when the Seville Oranges from Spain make their brief seasonal appearance.

These odd bitter oranges make the very best marmalade and are marvellous for any savoury recipe that uses orange juice, especially very old ones, as once these were the only oranges available.

I’m not going to list preserving recipes, everyone has their own favourite one or their own favourite brand. A plug here for the Prince of Wales Duchy brand, the Clementine Marmalade is to die for.

But I am going to encourage everyone to do more than lavish it on toast in the morning.

Buy a tub of your favourite vanilla ice cream, allow it to thaw to the point where you can just stir it about and add half a jar of marmalade. You may need to soften it if its a very well set one, warm it gently and add some orange juice ( or lemon or lime or grapefruit depending on the type), cool and then fold the preserve through the ice cream and refreeze.

If you have an adult audience, and in my experience kids don’t much like marmalade, add a slurp of Cointreau.

Serve it with some nice short bread biscuits ( cookies for all you Americans)