This recipe has a somewhat convoluted provenance. I’ve seen a dish that’s obviously a close relative billed as “Yorkshire Curd Tarts”, but I was first given the recipe by an acquaintance in Bedfordshire, and in any case I’ve modified it myself since then. I suppose I could call it something like “Yorkshire or Bedfordshire Curd Tart, With East Anglian Modifications, And Using Cream Cheese Instead of Curd Cheese Because You Can’t Find Curd Cheese Anywhere These Days…”, but while that might be accurate it could be considered somewhat less than adroit. Sultana Cheesecake is at least short and reasonably descriptive.
I mostly make it in spring, partly because dairy produce traditionally came back into season in spring so it feels right, and partly because it can be served either warm or cold according to the weather.
Here’s the recipe.
3 oz (approx 80 g) plain flour
1.5 oz (approx 40 g) butter
Cold water to mix
1 oz (approx 25 g) caster sugar
1 oz (approx 25 g) butter
4 oz (approx 125 g) cream cheese
0.5 teaspoon (0.5 x 5 ml spoon) ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon (1 x 5 ml spoon) plain flour
2 oz (approx 50 g) sultanas
Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Gradually add a small amount of cold water and mix until it forms a soft dough. If it’s floury and flaky, add a little more water, if it’s sticky you’ve added too much water so add a little more flour.
Or you can buy ready-made pastry if you prefer.
Roll the pastry out to a circle and line a greased tart dish approx 6–7 inches (approx 15–18 cm) diameter.
Cream the caster sugar and butter together until light and fluffy.
Beat in the cream cheese, flour and nutmeg.
Beat in the egg.
Mix in the sultanas.
Pour into the pastry case and level the surface.
Bake in a moderately hot oven at around 180 C for about 25 to 30 minutes until the filling is set and golden brown.
Serve warm or cold, with cream if liked.
I expect to get 6 slices out of this quantity, but it depends how big a slice you like.
Keeps in the fridge for 3–4 days, if it gets the chance.
If you want to add a slightly festive touch, you can soak the sultanas in a tablespoon of rum or brandy for a few hours beforehand.
If you don’t like sultanas, you can use raisins or currants instead.