It’s the tang of raspberry jam that tickles your tastebuds just after you’ve bitten through the flaky coconut topping and into the thick, creamy custard. That’s why Manchester Tart is so addictive.
A common variation in Manchester is to place a layer of thinly sliced banana under the custard and that’s the recipe my Nan used to follow (which I loved).
School dinners were always unpalatable in my school but somehow the slap-handed cook could always create a Manchester Tart masterpiece.
There are many imposters, of course. Some heathens substitute the custard for a lemon-flavoured variety, some even use flaky pastry instead of the butter-rich shortcrust, and one celebrity chef soaked the bananas in rum. But it’s the original for me every time.
I don’t know when the first Manchester Tart was baked but I do know it’s a variation on an earlier recipe, The Manchester Pudding, which was first recorded by the Victorian cookery writer, Mrs Isabella Beeton. That one omitted the coconut but kept, quite literally, the cherry on the cake.
Lately, I’ve been spending more time in the kitchen, trying out new recipes on my family. I’ve not dared attempt a Manchester Tart. I’d most likely annihilate my holy grail.
Image courtesy of SWALK Creative.