We love changing the flavours of our savoury tart, and there are infinite ways to vary things, but it’s worth remembering this simple rule – most tarts work well with one main vegetable, one aromatic element and one cheese. Also bear in mind that one medium egg will set 200g of cream, and 200g of cheese to 1.2 litres of creammakes a good strong cheesy flavour. We make all our tarts vegetarian, but there’s nothing stopping you from adding any meaty element that takes your creative fancy.
INGREDIENTS • 500g pre-made shortcrust pastry • 6 medium eggs • 1.2 litres double cream • Salt and pepper • Butter, for greasing • Plain flour, for dusting
FILLING FLAVOURS SPINACH, LEMON & RICOT TA: • 200g baby leaf spinach, wilted and drained • Zest of 1 lemon • 50g ricotta MUSHROOM, ASPARAGUS & TALEGGIO: • 100g mushrooms, sliced and quickly fried in butter until soft • 100g asparagus, steamed and cut into chunks • 200g taleggio, chopped into rough slices ONION, MAR JORAM & GOAT’S CHEESE: • 2 red onions, roasted whole in their skins at 170ºC (150ºC fan) for 30 minutes, then tough outer leaves peeled off, the onions quartered and flaked into individual ‘petals’ • Sprinkling of marjoram • 200g goat’s cheese, chopped into small chunks LEEK, NEW POTATO & SMOKED CHEDDAR: • 100g leeks, sliced and softened in a little butter • 100g new potatoes, cubed and boiled • 200g grated smoked cheddar ROASTED RED PEPPERS & FETA: • 100g jarred roasted red peppers, cut into strips • 200g feta, roughly crumbled COURGET TE, LEMON THYME & RICOT TA: • 100g courgette, coarsely grated or finely chopped • Sprinkling of lemon thyme • 200g ricotta
the custard mixture into the tart case to cover your filling, then close the oven door. The longer and lower you can cook your custard, the smoother and more unctuous it will be. The core temperature of the custard needs to be 80°C to be perfectly and safely cooked, so any oven temperature of 100°C (80°C fan) or higher will eventually set it perfectly as long as you’re not in a hurry. 9..There are two ways to be sure that your tart has a perfect texture. You can use the traditional ‘wobble test’, where you shake the tart gently and stop cooking when the custard ‘wobbles’ without ‘slopping’, but before it goes solid. It’s a great trick, but you really need an experienced cook to show you how it’s done. Rosie Sykes, our first chef at Fitzbillies, showed us her wobble in 2002 and our tarts have never been the same since. At home, we’d recommend doing the wobble test after 25 minutes of cooking time and at ten- minute intervals thereafter until set. You can also use a probe thermometer like our chefs, cooking in a low oven until the centre of the custard reaches 80°C. If neither of these methods appeal, or if time is of the essence, cook at 200°C (180°C fan) for 45 minutes. This will give you a safe tart, though possibly a more rubbery one. 10. Allow to cool before tucking in.
STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE 1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan) and grease and flour a 28cm tart tin. This will give you a wide, shallow tart that looks great on the table. Use a narrower, taller tin if you need deeper, chunkier slices for portability. 2. Remove the pastry from the fridge. If it’s been in there a long time, ie overnight, get it out half an hour before so that it can come to room temperature. 3. Lightly flour a surface and roll out the pastry until it’s a few inches wider than the tin, Ensure it doesn’t stick by moving it around gently as you work and keeping the surface well floured. 4. Roll the pastry over the rolling pin and then place it over the tart tin. Gently press into the sides, then trim the top edge with a sharp knife. Prick the base with a fork. 5. Blind bake for 20 minutes until lightly golden – you don’t want to overbake the edges, but nor do you want a soggy bottom. 6. After the 20 minutes, paint the interior of the tart case with the egg wash and return to the oven for five minutes. 7. Reduce the oven temperature to 100°C (80°C fan). Add the cream to the eggs, then season generously with salt and pepper. Mix well. 8. Arrange your chosen fillings in the tart case, then place it on the oven shelf. Carefully pour
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