Maids of honour

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These delicious tarts have a cheese curd centre and originated in the kitchens at Hampton Court Palace in the 16th century. It is said Anne Boleyn used to make these for King Henry VIII. Try making these little tarts and enjoy treats that were fit for a king.


  1. For the rough puff pastry, sift the flour onto a clean work surface and make a well in the middle. Put the butter and salt in the well and work them into the flour using your fingertips. The texture should be slightly breadcrumby, but you should still be able to see small pieces of butter – be careful not to overwork it.

  2. Make a well in the middle again, add the cold water, then mix until it comes together as a dough, adding a little more water if needed.

  3. Roll out the pastry into a 10cm x 24cm rectangle. Fold one third of the dough into the centre, followed by the other third, as though folding a letter to fit an envelope.

  4. Give it a quarter turn. Roll out the pastry to the same dimensions again and fold into three again. Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.

  5. Preheat the oven 200°C (fan 180°C, gas mark 6). Roll the pastry out a little more to a 30cm x 35cm rectangle.

  6. Use an 8cm plain cutter and stamp out (don’t twist the cutter) 12 rounds and use to line a shallow 12 hole bun tin.

  7. Beat together the curd cheese, sugar, bean paste and almonds then beat in the eggs.

  8. Pour into a jug and divide the mixture between the pastry cases and bake for 25 minutes, turning after 20 minutes until puffed and golden brown.

  9. Cool on a wire rack, they will sink a little. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

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