Six of the best tarts from Yorkshire
PUBLISHED: 20:44 08 November 2013 | UPDATED: 16:11 26 October 2015
At first we thought he was getting a bit fresh with us but no, Tony Greenway is just choosing some of the best pastries to be found in the county
Pastry. Frankly, it terrifies me because I can never get it right. Yet having watched the tarts and pies episode of the Great British Bake-off recently, I’m relieved to see that I’m not the only one. Take the tarts technical challenge (a round which sounds vaguely X-rated). By the end of it, one of the contestants’ egg custard numbers looked like an explosion in an egg custard tart factory, and — worse — the pastry was raw, making it inedible. Paul Hollywood made a face as though he didn’t know whether to eat it or plaster a wall with it. In the end, he avoided it.
Making sweet pastry or shortcrust pastry sounds like a breeze, but it’s much harder than it looks to get right. For example, let’s talk tarts. As Mary Berry notes, when you’re making a fruit tart, anything can happen. You can overwork the pastry, or underfill or overfill the case. The pastry needs to be not too thick and not too thin. If you overcook the fruit, meanwhile, moisture seeps downwards creating the dreaded soggy bottom. If you’re making egg custard tarts, you have to make sure you cook the pastry but not boil the custard. The pastry needs to be crisp and the finished tarts need colour and depth.
Phew. This isn’t cooking. This is science. And I was never any good at science.
So when someone like me goes into a patisserie or bakery and finds someone who can obviously make a REALLY good tart — ooh, like a Yorkshire curd tart or treacle tart for example — you want to jump over the counter and hug them. (My apologies to all the staff at Blacker Hall Farm Shop the other week).
Here, then, are some top tarts...
The Patisserie, Malton
A great patisserie run by local chef Andrew Walker, ex-Black Bull in Pickering, in the market town of Malton. Pastry was and is Andrew’s passion, as you will immediately realise if you buy his signature lemon tarts and/or chocolate tart. The thing is: is it tart? Or is it art? A bit of both, we reckon.
Blacker Hall Farm Shop, Wakefield
Jane McDonald’s favourite farm shop serves up an award-winning pecan pie and treacle tart — and I have heard fabulous things about its egg custard tart, too (it’s on my list of ‘things to do’). All are made on the premises, naturally, by Blacker Hall’s talented team of bakers.
Who put the ‘Yorkshire’ in Yorkshire curd tart? Silly question. It was Bettys of course, who make a fab curd tart, bursting with flavour, in their Craft Bakery. We’re talking Yorkshire curd cheese, butter, currants, nutmeg and a touch of lemon curd... and sweet, all-butter pastry.
0845 600 1919, bettys.co.uk
West Winds, Buckden
Lynn Thornborrow makes cakes to order which are available for collection at the West Winds Yorkshire Tea Rooms (in Buckden in the Dales), under the banner ‘Lynn’s Teatime Cakes’. Part of her (extensive) menu is a Yorkshire curd tart. So what’s the secret of making a good Yorkshire curd tart? ‘I always use an Aga,’ Lynn told me. ‘I have an electric oven — but that’s a standby, and if I do have to use it they never turn out the same.’ So get your Aga fired up. Or get Lynn to make them for you.
TC Patisserie, Beverley
Run by Thierry and Nicky Condette, the TC Patisserie opened in 2008 to good reviews. No wonder, Thierry trained at the Lycée Hotelier du Touquet in Pas de Calais and then worked in various restaurants in France, coming to Yorkshire in 1999; and the tarts he produces are slices of heaven. We’re talking tarte au citron, for example, tarte au chocolat, strawberry and blueberry with frangipan, tarte aux pommes and tarte aux poires (a frangipane with pear baked in it and almonds on top). Hungry yet?
Croissant d’Or, Leeds
A little bit of France in Leeds, with lots of style and oodles of savoir-faire. Tarts that are baked daily on the premises by the Croissant d’Or team include lemon, apple, pear, chocolate, apricot and raspberry.
0113 250 6483