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Yorkshire is more famous for Yorkshire
pudding, but the curd tart deserves more
attention than it gets. I remember in the
school holidays my mum would bring tarts
back from the local bakery and all the family
would sit around scoffing them and washing
them down with cups of tea. We serve our
rhubarb curd tart with a hay cream. The
toasted hay has a wonderfully nutty aroma
that marries so perfectly with the soft, sweet
curds. But, more than that, for me the smell
of the hay evokes memories of childhood
summertime as much as the curd tart itself.
Which is a nice thought when in the depths
of the Hunger Gap.

Posted by Orion Books Published See Orion Books's 81 projects » © 2021 Tommy Banks / Orion Books · Reproduced with permission. · ROOTS by Tommy Banks, 5th April 2018, hardback, £25, Seven Dials. Photography by Andrew Hayes-Watkins
  • Step 1

    First, make the hay cream. Preheat the oven to
    170°C/325°F/Gas mark 3. Spread the hay on a baking
    tray and toast for about 25 minutes. It will darken
    slightly in colour and begin to smell deliciously of
    biscuits. Heat the cream until just below boiling point
    before adding the toasted hay and removing from the
    heat. Cover the pan with clingfilm and leave overnight
    to cool completely.

  • Step 2

    The next day, pass the cream through a fine sieve,
    squeezing the hay hard with a ladle to extract every last
    drop. Weigh the cream into a mixing bowl and combine
    it with 10 per cent of its own weight in icing sugar –
    e.g. 300g cream to 30g sugar. Add a very small pinch
    of finely crumbed sea salt, and whip with a balloon whisk
    until foamy and aerated but still a dropping and
    pourable consistency.

  • Step 3

    For the ‘currants’, toss the rhubarb well in the sugar
    and citric acid to evenly coat. Place in a colander over
    a bowl and allow to drain for 30 minutes, reserving the
    syrup. Spread the rhubarb evenly on a sheet of baking
    parchment and dehydrate in an oven on its lowest
    setting for an hour or so. It should be dry but still soft
    and chewy.

  • Step 4

    In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment,
    cream together the butter and sugar until pale. Add the
    beaten eggs gradually so the mixture stays smooth and
    emulsified. Carefully stir (rather than beat) in the curd
    cheese, salt, breadcrumbs and rhubarb ‘currants’.

  • Step 5

    Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/Gas mark 3. Carefully
    spread the base of the pastry case with the jam and
    evenly spoon over the curd mixture, leaving a 5–10mm
    gap between the top of the filling and the rim of the
    case. Gently smooth the top and bake in the oven for
    about 45 minutes, or until the tart turns a deep golden
    brown. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for
    5 minutes in the tin, then carefully unmould the tart,
    brush it lightly with the reserved rhubarb syrup and
    place it on a rack to cool for another 20 minutes. Slice
    the tart while it is still slightly warm from the oven and
    serve with the hay cream.

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