Liverpool Tart

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Liverpool Tart
Type Tart
Place of origin United Kingdom
Region or state Dorset
Main ingredients Lemon, sugar
Cookbook: Liverpool Tart  Media: Liverpool Tart

The earliest known mention of a Liverpool Tart is 1897, when it was hand-written into a family cookbook, which was recently included in the village website for Evershot, in Dorset.

Basically a pasty tart, the distinctive taste comes from the mixture of moist sugar (sic) and a boiled lemon, minced. In 2006 this recipe was taken up by Gerry Jones of Liverpool and developed with a view to the tart becoming as widely known and appreciated as the Bakewell and Manchester tarts. In 2008 it was being produced as a regular line by two bakeries in Merseyside, Satterthwaites in Crosby and Dafna's Cheesecake Factory in south Liverpool. The original recipe called for "½lb moist sugar, 2oz butter, 1 egg, 1 lemon, pastry".

The process read; " Put the butter and sugar into a moderate oven to melt. When melted, let it cool. Boil your lemon whole very slowly (or it will break) until quite soft. Mince it whole as it is, saving the juice as much as possible and taking out the pips. Mince very fine.

Beat the egg well. Mix all well together. Line a flat open tart dish with good paste, and pour in the mixture to one uniform thickness (about ½ an inch), cross bar over and bake. Serve hot or cold."

Current thinking is that "moist" sugar meant dark muscovado, while the lemon may be shredded (after removal of the pips) instead of "boiling and mincing". Once the basic tart is baked and setting, thought is then given to a decorative finish. The original "cross bar over" is generally agreed to mean a lattice of pastry strips across the top, but the most attractive versions include the shape of Liverpool's Liver Bird in one form or another. It is possible to buy bespoke pastry cutters which can provide Liver Bird shapes in sugarpaste. While these produce the most attractive tarts, they do add yet another level of sweetness, and the difficulty of removing each limb from the cutter makes this uneconomical in commercial terms. Another popular method is to acquire a flat Liver Bird shape or template, which can be rested on the surface while biscuit-crumb is dredged over the whole tart, then removal of the template leaves a dark Liver Bird in clear view. This is a much quicker process and adds much less extra sweetness.


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