Tag Archives: Shortcrust Pastry

An Asparagus and Gruyère Tart

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While the weather here is grim, and I mean really GRIM, this tart is as close to a ray of sunshine as we’ll be getting for a good bit longer!. I’m talking incessant rain, gales and highs of a heady 10 degrees. And it’s the end of May! Needless to say the fires are still being lit and nightly hot water bottles filled. Quite ridiculous, but that’s enough moaning about the weather…..

One good thing though is the delightful occurrence of asparagus season, the weather may not feel like but the shops are brimming with glorious, magical spears. And round here of both the white and green varieties, though I have to admit to not being the biggest fan of the grown-in-the-dark former. It’s definitely the goodly green stuff that gets me going. And the blogosphere is full of it too, I can barely turn on my computer without there being an image of yet another fabulous asparagus (or rhubarb) recipe! And unlike the weather, I’m so not complaining about that.

Asparagus & Gruyere Tart

So here’s my first Asparagus recipe of the year (yep, there’s more to come!). A simple Asparagus Tart made with an ever so easy homemade shortcrust pastry, a large bunch of lightly steamed asparagus floating in a creme fraiche, Gruyère, Dijon mustard and eggy deliciousness topped with a sprinkling of Parmesan. Oh it’s good. A little naughty admittedly, but hey what’s the odd tart here and there between friends.

Simple and in SeasonOne-Ingredient-AsparagusNow for the bloggie challenges. Since Asparagus is so in season I’m entering my blog to Ren Behan’s Simple and in Season event. And to How to Cook Good Food and Franglais Kitchen‘s One Ingredient Challenge, hosted by Laura this month and so happening to be glorious Asparagus, yeah! And as it’s a totally made-from-scratch tart to Javelin Warrior’s Made with Love Mondays event.Made with Love Mondays

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Asparagus & Gruyère Tart

Great for toddlers & little people, bigger kids, family dinners, grown ups, parties, lunch or dinners, vegetarians, picnics

Enough for 4 – 6

For the Pastry:

130g of Plain Flour, plus a little extra for rolling

65g of Butter, straight from the fridge, cut into small blocks, plus a little extra for greasing

pinch of Salt & Pepper

an egg yolk and a little cold water

For the Tart Filling:

a 450g bunch of Asparagus, washed

3 free range Eggs

200ml of half fat Creme Fraiche

a heaped teaspoon of Dijon Mustard

100g of Gruyère, grated

Salt & Pepper

a tablespoon of finely grated fresh Parmesan

Special Equipment: a 19 to 25cm width quiche/tart case

Start by making your pastry. Easiest and quickest in a food processor, but can be made by hand too. If using a processor blitz the flour, salt, pepper and butter together until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and blitz again. With the machine still on add a little very cold water and continue to add until the mixture starts to come together in one piece. Remove from the processor, shape together, wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before using.

Alternatively, if you’re making by hand place the flour, salt, pepper and butter in a large bowl. Rub the fat into the flour with your finger tips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the egg yolk and a little very cold water with your hands. Continue to add water until the mixture comes together in one piece. Shape together, wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC/Gas Mark 6.

Whilst the pastry’s resting make your filling. Snap off the tougher ends of the asparagus and throw away, slice the remaining ends into 1 to 2cm slices, retaining spheres approximately half the width of your tart or quiche case. Steam over boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes until almost tender. Immerse in cold water, drain and set aside.

Lightly beat the eggs then stir in the creme fraiche, Dijon mustard, grated Gruyère, and pinches of salt 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 slightly bigger than your case. Transfer to the case. Hang any excess of pastry over the sides. 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. While still hot trim the pastry around the top of the tart case to make a neat edge.

Place the small slices of asparagus in the bottom of the tart case. Pile on the creme fraiche filling. Now carefully arrange the asparagus spheres in a pretty ‘sunshine’ design on the top. Sprinkle over the Parmesan.

Slide in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until firm to touch and golden brown on top. Serve warm with a large leafy salad. Maybe some buttered new potatoes too.

You might also like:

A Summery Chicken, Asparagus & Lemon Cassoulet

A Summery Chicken, Asparagus & Lemon Cassoulet

PSB, Anchovy & Parmesan Tart

PSB, Anchovy & Parmesan Tart


Anchovy, Parmesan and PSB Tart

PSB Tart

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.

PSB

PSB

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.

Simple and in SeasonSince 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 AlphaBakes Logohappened to notice that AlphaBakes (jointed hosted by Caroline from Caroline Makes and this month by Ros from One-Ingredient-April-Cheese-300x247More 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

Please don't be fooled that we're eating out and basking in sunshine here. This was taken in a few minutes of warm sun we had last week - and it's rained ever since!

Please don’t be fooled we’re eating out and basking in glorious sunshine here. This was taken in the very few warm minutes of sun we had last week – and it’s rained ever since

PSB Tart

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.

You might also like: 

Leek & Goats Cheese Tart

Leek & Goats Cheese Tart

Butternut, Feta & Red Onion Tart with Thyme

Butternut, Feta & Red Onion Tart with Thyme


Butternut, Feta and Red Onion Tart with Thyme

I’m loving the Butternut and Pumpkin season at Chez Foti. To be honest it’s making a welcome change from all those tomatoes of the summer, not that they’ve completely finished yet!. And it’s been lots of fun getting a little more inventive with them than the usual soups and stews. One of my biggest successes was the Chocolate Pumpkin Cake, but I’ve also been making all manner of other sweet and savoury baked goodies that I haven’t found the time to blog yet. My latest mission has been to develop an interesting Butternut Tart and I’m finally happy with the results and ready to share the recipe. A Shortcrust pastry base (homemade or shop bought), a meltingly soft layer of red onions topped with roasted butternut cubes, crumbled feta cheese, toasted pine kernels, a generous sprinkling of fresh thyme and finally a drizzle of  balsamic for a little zing. Not only is this a great family-friendly mid-week supper or lunch tart, it’s a more interesting than normal vegetarian dinner party option too.

I have to hold my hands up and admit I do use ready-made shortcrust or puff pastry occasionally, particularly to make a quickie mid-week supper. In France both pastries are readily and cheaply sold in a roll, ready rolled and ready to place directly onto a (round) baking tin or tray. How’s that for super-cheating? Even better that it can sometimes be very good quality pastry, but like most things you get what you pay for. I believe in the UK you can only buy frozen shortcrust or puff pastry that needs to be rolled out? I do obviously make my own pastry quite often too!

You could happily also use a flavoursome pumpkin for this tart, and in fact I used a mixture of pumpkin and butternut here as I was using up what I happened to have in the fridge. Though my normal warning with using pumpkin standsmake sure it’s a sweetie! Pumpkin can all too often be bland and devoid of flavour, particularly the pumpkins sold for Halloween in the UK. I’m luckily enough to have really flavoursome ones at Chez Foti, but then I’m also lucky enough to have long sunshiny summers!.

Since thyme is a crucial flavouring to my tart I’m entering my recipe to Lavender and Lovage’s October Herbs on Saturday blog challenge.

I’m also entering it to the One Ingredient Challenge for a second time this month, hopefully this is allowed?! The One Ingredient Challenge  is a monthly blog event, held jointly by Laura @ How to Cook Good Food and this month by Nazima @ Franglais Kitchen, picking out a particular ingredient each month, and this month it so happens to be Pumpkin or Squash. Perfect!

Butternut, Feta and Red Onion Tart with Thyme 

Serves 3 to 4 people, or a family of 4:

400g of Butternut squash, peeled

a tablespoon of olive oil

salt & pepper

1 very large or 2 medium red onions

35g of butter

250g of shortcrust pastry, either homemade or shop bought

25g of pine kernels

a medium free range egg, lightly beaten

130g of feta cheese, roughly crumbled

a few sprigs of thyme, leaves removed

balsamic vinegar

salt & pepper

Special Equipment: A large oblong or round baking sheet or tray

Start with roasting your Butternut. Pre-heat your oven to 200ºC/Gas Mark 6. Dice into smallish 1 to 1.5cm cubes, toss in the olive oil and a pinch of salt and black pepper. Place on a roasting tray and roast for 25 to 30 minutes until the squash is soft and slightly browned.

Meanwhile finely slice the onions. Heat the butter in a frying pan on a low heat and saute the onions for 25 to 30 minutes until meltingly soft.

Roll out the pastry (or de-roll in my lazy case!) into a circular (roughly 30 x 30cm) or oblong (roughly 35 x 20cm) shape. Place on an appropriately sized and shaped baking sheet or tray. Lightly prick the surface all over with a fork. Bake blind in the already pre-heated oven (200ºC) for 10 minutes.

Now to toast the pine kernels. Heat a frying pan on a medium heat and once hot throw in the kernels. Shake every few moments until you have been lightly toasted. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Once the onions are cooked allow to cool for a few minutes before mixing them with the beaten egg and a tiny pinch of salt and pepper.

Once the butternut has finished roasting, the onions are ready and pastry baked blind you can begin your assembly. Evenly spread the onion mix over the pastry, followed by the roasted butternut cubes then a scattering of the feta and pine kernels. Generously sprinkle on the thyme leaves and a little more black pepper. Carefully drizzle a few drops of Balsamic evenly all over.

Place back in the already heated oven for 15 to 20 minutes (200ºC). Remove when the pastry is golden at the edges. Slice and serve. Lovely with a tomato or green salad.

How about trying some of my other related recipes Butternut Squash & Chorizo Soup with Chorizo Croutons, Pumpkin Mac ‘n Cheese,  Chicken, Pumpkin & Borlotti Beans, A Couple of Tomato Tarts, Leek & Goats Cheese Tart


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