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Cheap and Easy Wartime Sweet Tarts From Liverpool

Updated on September 26, 2017
Peter Geekie profile image

A retired pharmaceutical and industrial chemist, author and historian specialising in military events.

Liverpool Tart with a Liver Bird emblem
Liverpool Tart with a Liver Bird emblem
Liverpool Judy with extra butter and simple emblem
Liverpool Judy with extra butter and simple emblem
Cutters for Liver Bird shape
Cutters for Liver Bird shape

In the series of wartime or 1950s cakes which are a favorite in a single area, Liverpool tart was a great favourite of those living near the River Mersey. Strangely enough the recipe originated in the village of Evershot in Dorset in 1897 and has varied little since then.

The original language it was written in would be considered archaic so I have modified it to become more readable and understandable.

Liverpool Tart (based on original 1897 recipe)


To make the pastry:

8 oz plain flour.

4oz margarine/butter.

1 tsp icing sugar.

Pinch of salt.

4 tbsp cold water.

Or for quickness use pre-made pastry with a little extra sugar

Prepare by lightly buttering and lining two four-Yorkshire-pudding baking trays with thinly rolled pastry, pressing well into the tins.

For the filling:

8 oz Dark Muscovado sugar

2 oz butter,

1 large free-range egg,

1 unwaxed lemon

Melt butter and sugar together and then allow to cool but remain liquid.

Cut lemon in small pieces & remove any pips, then shred all the lemon in a blender until fairly fine. Do not liquidise. Add everything together in a basin and beat until fairly smooth and lump free, then spoon the mixture into the pastry cups but don’t overfill, half an inch should do.

Bake at 375deg F/190degC Gas Five, for 17/20 minutes.

To decorate: Use twisted strips of pastry across the top in both directions or use cut pastry in shape of Liver Bird, heart, star, or whatever shapes you wish.

Alternatively coat with biscuit crumb over a template shape then remove the shape leaving the silhouette.

Liverpool Judy

The term “Judy” is a local term for a “girl-friend” and was a pleasantry. It is not used so widely these days and is thought to originate from a Liverpool sea-shanty. As far as I know, use of the term "Judy" for a girl-friend is pure Liverpool, and not used anywhere else in the world. .

The recipe for a Liverpool Judy is practically identical to the tart, but usually has double the amount of butter.

Do you have a sweet tooth ?

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© 2013 Peter Geekie


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    • Peter Geekie profile image

      Peter Geekie 3 years ago from Sittingbourne

      Dear Jane,

      Thanks for your comments. These unsophisticated cakes can bring back interesting memories.

      kind regards Peter

    • profile image

      Jane 3 years ago

      My family came from Liverpool originally so I made a batch of these to try.

      They were easy to make and tasted great. My Grandma said the smell and taste took her back to Liverpool during the war