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Creamy Broccoli and Gouda Cheese Tart with a Walnut Crust

Friday, December 27, 2013


In my family, savoury tarts are a Christmas staple. I love making them outside of Christmas as well, because they are incredibly versatile. You can vary endlessly with fillings as well as (to a certain extent) with the crust, coming up with new, exciting and tasty flavour combinations. The nutty flavour of this tart's flaky crust compliments the creaminess of both the broccoli and the Gouda cheese and is a welcome change from your run off the mill tart crust.

I used a mature, flavorful Gouda cheese in this tart, but you could swap that out for blue cheese such a Blue Stilton, as is done in the original recipe. Speaking of Stilton - I bought some to go in this tart, I'd never tasted it before. Big mistake. I know some people like their blue cheeses, but honestly it tasted like a cow stable to me (and I've been in a few).. I suppose that that must be appealing to cheese lovers, tasting the cows' living environment, but it's not for me. I'm not very adventurous with cheese as I don't go beyond cow cheese anyway. Just give me good old Gouda, Edam or Cheddar cheese and I'm a happy camper. And there's nothing wrong with plugging some Dutch cheese on this Dutchie's website I think!


Creamy Broccoli and Gouda Cheese Tart
yields: 1 medium tart
equipment: 23cm loose based flan tin, baking tray, food processor (optional), clingfilm

Ingredients:

Crust:
175gr plain flour
good pinch of salt
50gr walnut pieces
110gr unsalted butter, chilled well and diced
2tbsp ice-cold water

Filling:
250 trimmed broccoli florets (about 400gr whole broccoli)
175gr mature Gouda cheese
3 medium free-range eggs
300ml single cream
2tbsp chopped fresh chives
salt & pepper

1. For the pastry, put the flour and walnut pieces in a food processor and process until the nuts are very finely chopped and you have a sandy mixture. If you don't have a food processor, chop the walnuts as finely as you can and add to the flour.

2. Add the butter and process again, until you have a mixture that looks like fine crumbs. Alternatively, you could rub the butter in with your (cold) hands.

3. Add the water a tablespoon at a time and run the machine until the mixture comes together in a dough. If there are still dry crumbs left, add more water a teaspoon at a time until it comes together. Shape dough into a ball, wrap it in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes. 

4. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F.

5. Roll the pastry out into a circle that is 28 cm/11 inch in diameter. Use it to line the flan tin. Chill for 15 minutes. 

6. Prick some holes in the pastry base with a fork, line the tin with baking parchment and fill with baking beans (you could also use dry rice, lentils or beans). Bake in the oven for 15 minutes (this is "blind baking"). Take out the baking parchment and filling and bake the case for another 5 to 7 minutes, until it is crisp and light brown. Remove the tin from the oven and put the baking tray in to heat. Turn the temperature down to 180C/350F.

7. Prepare the filling while your pastry case is baking. Bring a pan of water to the boil, add the trimmed broccoli florets. Remove the pan from the heat as soon as the water comes to the boil again. Drain the broccoli. Trim off any rind from the cheese and dice it. Whisk the eggs with the cream and stir in the chives. Add some salt and plenty of pepper to the egg mixture.

8. Position the broccoli florets on the pastry base, making sure they are evenly dispersed, then scatter over the cheese. Place the flan tin on the hot baking tray, then pour the egg mixture over the broccoli and cheese. Bake in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes. The filling should be just firm. Remove the tart from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes in the tin before unmoulding. Serve tart warm or at room temperature, preferably on the same day. 


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