If you’re interested in food with the prefix ‘Manchester’, then look out for the Manchester Tart. It’s a pastry tart, with a smear of raspberry jam and a custard filling (sometimes containing banana slices), topped with coconut and a cherry-a former school dinner favourite.I can’t say I’m a fan, I don’t know if I got a particularly bad example, or if us Southerners are born without the taste buds for this delicate balance of flavours but either way I won’t be eating another.
The tart is thought to be based on the equally mysterious combination of ingredients in the Manchester Pudding, which was made from breadcrumbs, milk, sugar, eggs, damson jam and lemon juice. I ate a Manchester Tart once – no, I ate half of one. It was suggested I do so by the editor of a publication for which I was interning and I felt it was the kind of situation in which one does as they are told. In hindsight it was clearly a sick joke and I’ve reevaluated my principles when it comes to following recommendations from anyone.
If you’re interested more in tarts than ‘Manchester’ food, there are a huge range of regional tarts to try, I’d suggest starting with the tart of my native Kent, the super-sweet gypsy tart. The Manchester Tart was last spotted in the café at the John Rylands Library on Deansgate. It’s not for the faint hearted.