Finally the Purple Sprouting Broccoli has come good. After a year’s impatient, and doubtful, waiting all five of my plants are yielding a glutinous harvest. And what a wonderful veg to glut out on, one of the very finest in my opinion and interestingly one that the French don’t seem to do. Well at least I’ve never seen it for sale here. They really don’t know what they’re missing.
So it’s been a bit of PSB frenzy around here the last couple of weeks and one of my favourite recipes has to be this very Tart. A rich peppered shortcrust pastry (or you could cheat and buy ready-made), filled with as much PSB as you can possibly fit, bathed in a layer of eggy, creme fraiche & Parmesan loveliness and topped with preserved anchovies. Probably not a tart for the littlies in your life as it’s heavy on salty anchovies, which incidentally are a match made in foodie heaven with PSB. Though you could always omit them and still make a very tasty tart indeed, or pick them off as my kids happily did (and I charitably gobbled down on their behalves).
I know homemade pastry is considered a bit of a faff by most people but it’s surprisingly easy and generally faultless to make yourself. To cut down on faff time you can make in large batches and line and ‘bake blind’ a number of tart cases all at once, and freeze the excess for a later and convenient quickie dinner. Then the prep of the filling and baking is genuinely a doddle.
Since PSB is so in season right now I’m entering my recipe to Fabulicious Food’s Simple and in Season event, which I was delighted to host myself in March and this month is being held by Ren herself. Not being a very regular baker it’s rare that I get a chance to enter the wonderful baking events out in the blogosphere, but this month I happened to notice that AlphaBakes (jointed hosted by Caroline from Caroline Makes and this month by Ros from More than an Occasional Baker) is on the Letter A (for Anchovy). So I’m delighted to be making my first ever entry! And last but most certainly not least as Cheese is the theme I shall be entering my tart to this month’s One Ingredient Challenge, an event hosted by Laura at How to Cook Good Food and this month by Nazima at Franglais Kitchen
Enough for 4:
For the Pastry: (double, treble, quadruple if you want to stock up on savory tart cases)
130g of Plain Flour, plus a little extra for rolling
35g of Butter, straight from the fridge, cut into small blocks. Plus a little extra for greasing the case
30g of hard Vegetable Fat, straight from the fridge, cut unto small blocks
a level teaspoon of coarsely ground Black Pepper
a pinch of Salt
an Egg yolk, lightly beaten
For the Filling:
200 to 250g of Purple Sprouting Broccoli (essentially as much as you can squeeze in the tart base), washed
3 medium free range Eggs
200ml of half fat Creme Fraiche (a small tub)
2 heaped tablespoons of finely grated Parmesan
a large pinch of Black Pepper
6 Anchovy fillets, preserved in oil or salt
Special Equipment: a 19 to 25cm width quiche/tart case
Start by making your pastry. I use a food processor for speed but you can make it by hand too. If you’re using a processor place all the ingredients in the bowl, except for the egg yolk, and whiz until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and whiz again. When it starts to come together in a ball it’s ready, if it doesn’t add a few drops of cold water until it does. Remove from the processor and shape together. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before using.
If you’re making the pastry by hand place all the ingredients, bar the egg yolk, in a mixing bowl. Rub the fat into the flour with your fingers until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and mix into the flour and fat with your hands, trying to bring it all together. Add a few drops of cold water if the dough fails to come together. Wrap in cling film and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 190ºC (gas mark 5, 375ºF).
Whilst the pastry’s resting make your filling. Slice the tougher ends of the broccoli into roughly inch long strips, leaving a generous couple of inches for the delicate purple florets. Steam over boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes until almost tender. Set aside.
Lightly beat the eggs then beat in the creme fraiche, Parmesan and black pepper. Set aside.
Lightly grease your chosen flan case with butter.
The pastry should now be rested. Roll out on a floured surface into a round that will fit your case. Transfer to the case. Cut off any excess pastry; there should be just enough pastry to overlap the sides by a few mms (the pastry will shrink a little when cooked). Prick the base all over with a fork. Place a piece of greaseproof paper over and fill with baking beans to weight down the pastry. Bake for 20 minutes in the hot oven, remove the beans and bake for a further 5 minutes.
Now you’re ready for tart assembly. Place as much PSB in the tart case as it will hold. Pour over the eggy mix. Finally decoratively lay the anchovy fillets over the top. Slide in the oven and bake for about 35 minutes until firm to touch and a little golden on top.
Perfect with a leafy green salad. And new potatoes if you find them yet.
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