Eleanor of Leicester's Curd Pie

I can’t say I am happy that Whitsun appears to have been wiped from our psyche and replaced with ‘Late Spring Holiday’. It will always be Whitsun to me.

Curd Pies, the forerunner of the cheesecake, were a popular dish at Whitsun festivities, feasts and fairs all over the country. It was said that during Whitsun festivities enough cheesecakes were made to pave entire towns. It was this time of year that saw the cows yielding a surfeit of milk. With the warmer weather on the way, and no refrigeration, the surplus curds were turned into cheeses and butter. So there was plenty of curd cheese for celebratory food.

This dish is an old Leicestershire recipe that bears the name of Simon de Montfort’s wife, Eleanor of England, daughter of King John and Isabella of Angoulême and sister of King Henry III.

Ingredients - 9 inch (22cm) tart tin

1 pack of puff pastry 1 tablespoon melted butter
8oz (225g) curd cheese 2 teaspoon cornflour
2 large eggs ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1¾oz (50g) caster sugar 2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons double cream Handful of raisins soaked in a little brandy


  1. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface large enough to line the flan tin and leave a lip.
  2. Crimp the edges of the lip.
  3. Beat the eggs with the cheese, sugar and cream until smooth.
  4. Add the melted butter, cornflour, cinnamon and ginger and stir in thoroughly.
  5. Pour the mixture into the flan case and scatter the soaked raisins on to the mixture.
  6. Place on a pre-heated baking sheet and place in a pre-heated oven at 190°C/355°F/Gas
  7. Mark 5) for about 40 mins. The pastry should be risen and golden and the filling risen and puffy. The mixture will sink as it cools.

This can be eaten as it is, or with cream or ice cream. It is actually quite light and, sadly, morish! That’s my Official Taster’s excuse for clearing it up in very short order.


Curd Cheese
Eleanor of Leicester