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Lent Tart or Kentish Pudding Pie

Pies and Pastries

(Or Kent Pudding-Pie)

Shallow open shortcrust base filled with a set custard made with ground rice (often citrus flavoured) and topped with dried fruit and ground nutmeg. Served cold. The pie is associated with the meat-free period of Lent and with Easter and served alongside Cherry Ale. A form of Pudding Pie

Kentish Pudding Pie
Image: Alex Bray

Original Receipt from The British Food Trust;

Kent Lent Tart
In the days when Lent was strictly observed, many cooks became very ingenious at thinking up new dishes to break the monotony of their abstemious diet. This recipe, sometimes called Kentish Pudding Pie, is rather like a baked cheesecake and was particularly popular in the area around Folkestone.
Serves: 4-6
175 Gram Plain flour (6 oz)
150 Gram Butter (5 oz)
300 ml Milk (1/2 pint)
25 Gram Ground rice (1 oz)
50 Gram Sugar (2 oz)
2 Eggs
1 Lemon, zest only
1/4 Teaspoon Grated nutmeg
25 Gram Currants (1 oz)
Pre-heat oven to 200 C / 400 F / Gas 6.
Put the flour in a bowl and rub in 75g (3 oz) of the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in 3-4 tablespoons water to bind the mixture together into a dough. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface and use to line a greased 20 cm (8 inch) fluted flan dish or tin. Bake blind for 10-15 minutes, until set. Reduce oven temperature to 190 C / 375 F / Gas 5.
Meanwhile, put the milk and rice in a pan and bring to the boil, stirring continuously, until the mixture thickens. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool. When the mixture is cold, cream the remaining butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then add the lemon zest, nutmeg and the rice mixture. Mix thoroughly and pour into the flan case. Sprinkle the currants on top. Bake for 40-45 minutes until firm to the touch and golden brown. Serve the pie warm.

An early copy of 'Good Housekeeping' magazine (1888?) has; " "Going-a-pudding-pieing" was a Kentish custom which prevailed late into the present century. The young people went about in groups and ate this delicacy in public houses and drank cherry-beer with it. The "Pudding-Pie" was flat like our modern cheese-cake, made with a raised crust, filled with custard and sprinkled with currants."

The book 'The Dover Road' by Charles G. Harper (1922) has; "You cannot get so immediately and incapably drunk nowadays at the "Halfway House," and 'tis better so, but I have seen the place drunk dry in the space of an hour by thirsty Volunteers marching from London to Dover at Eastertide. When they had gone, it was as hopeless to call for a draught of ale as I imagine it would have been to ask the hostess for that old-time Kentish delicacy, the "pudding-pie," that was once to be had for the asking at any inn during Easter week. The "pudding-pie" has almost entirely vanished from Kent, but, "once upon a time," not to have tasted one was regarded as unlucky, and it was the usual thing for ale-house customers to ask for a "pudding-pie" as a right.
"Neow, missus," the Kentish yokel would say, "let uz teaste one o' them 'ere puddeners o' yourn," and the "missus" would hand him a flat circular tart, about the size of a saucer, and filled with custard sprinkled thinly with currants. "

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