Although I know it’s not the same for everyone, I loved my school dinners!! I remember with fondness, sitting in the classroom as the delicious (yes, delicious!) food smell intensified the closer it got to lunch time – just desperate to get in the dinner queue! We were fortunate to have a great cook (Mrs Dodd). However, she took no messing, and would think nothing of banging her rolling pin on the counter if we got too rowdy! Mrs Dodd did have a soft heart though, and if we were well behaved we got the chance to scrape out and enjoy the left overs from the pudding tins…. syrup sponge ones were the best of all, with its ‘sweet gooeyness’ firmly wedged in the corners!!
Another favourite pudding of mine regularly served up in our school was Manchester tart, and it appears from chatting to others that I’m not on my own. So, thought it would be nice to pop together a gluten free version, equally as good, and with that little nod to good old nostalgia!
Ingredients (serves 6)
Gluten free Pastry
200g (8oz) gluten free white mix (Juvela gf white mix or Doves farm gf plain white flour)
100g (4oz) block butter – cubed
1 large beaten egg
½ teaspoon *Xanthan gum
Cold water (3-4 tablespoons)
You will only need to use just over half of the pastry for this recipe. So, if you portion the amount you need before you roll out, it will make it much easier to handle. If you don’t want to use the rest of the pastry right now, it can be wrapped in greaseproof, popped in a freezer bag and stored in the fridge for up to 3 days or n the freezer for 2 months. Or maybe whilst you still have your rolling pin out anyway do as my Mum used to do, and line another flan dish (freezer proof), wrap well and freeze – all ready for when you next need it! Perfect for popping together a quick quiche at the drop of a hat!
600 ml (1 pint) of milk – full cream is ideal but semi skimmed will be fine
2 heaped tablespoons *Birds custard powder
1½ level tablespoons of sugar
Little splash of double cream – optional – I really like the additional creaminess
1 good tablespoon of strawberry jam
2 small bananas
25g (1oz) desiccated *coconut
Pre heat oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6/Fan 180C
Pour most of the milk into a large saucepan and heat. Blend the remaining milk with the custard powder and sugar. Once the milk has come to the boil pour in the custard mixture, whisking briskly until thick and smooth. You are looking for the thickness of custard used for trifle.
Transfer the custard into a large bowl – it will cool quicker. Lay a piece of greaseproof (cake liners work a treat for this – perfect size!) directly onto the custard.
Leave to cool down before popping in the fridge, chilling then for a further 2 hours until cold (custard can be made up the previous day).
Whilst the custard is cooling pop together the pastry. But just before you get your hands messy, ligtly grease an 8inch flan dish.
For the pastry – In a large bowl blend together the Xanthan gum and gf mix. Add the butter and rub in until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs (don’t worry if large lumps of butter remain, as this will blend in when you knead the pastry). Add in the egg and mix well. Then add enough water to bind the pastry together. My friend Anna’s video shows this method in more depth….she is very good!
Transfer the pastry onto a surface dusted with gf mix and knead for a couple of minutes until the pastry becomes smooth – this process makes the pastry so much easier to handle – gluten free pastry breaks all the tradition rules of making regular pastry, as over-kneading will only make it better to deal with and easier to roll out, and not at all tough when baked!
Dust plenty of gf mix onto your worksurface and rolling pin before rolling out the pastry. Roll out as thin as possible. Gently roll the pastry around the rolling pin and transfer into the flan dish – don’t worry at all if you have to patch up at this stage, nobody will see it, and it will still taste great! Prick the base all over with a fork – this prevents air bubbles.
Pop into preheated oven and bake for approximately 20 minutes until golden brown.
Remove pastry base from the oven and allow to cool.
Once the custard is cold remove the paper (this will also peel the skin off the top) and whisk well using an electric hand whisk until nice and smooth – adding an indulgent trickle of cream at this stage if you like.- you are only looking at about 2 desertspoons so not to change the consistency too much.
Spread the jam over the pastry base and slice the bananas over the top.
Spoon the custard over the bananas and smooth out. Finish off with a generous sprinkling of coconut.
Pop in the fridge to chill for 1-2 hours.
Best eaten the same day, but will be good the next day too….do hope you like it😊
Just a couple of extra things before I go……..
For low sugar diets, switch to sugar free jam and add a sugar free sweetener (to taste) such as Canderel to the custard.
You can pick up really cheap rolling pins from most supermarkets, to ensure that you have a separate one for your gluten free pastry, chapatis, pizza etc.
The variation to the original Manchester tart recipe of adding bananas is commonly done so in Manchester….love it!!
Love to hear what your school dinner favourites were? Let’s get them replicated!!
*Gluten free checks needed on this product in case of ingredient change or ‘may contain’ warnings on the pack.