Monday, March 14, 2011

Potato, Goat Cheese And Spinach Tart

Ingredients for shortcrust:
7 ounces all purpose flour, sifted
pinch of salt
7 T chilled butter, cubed
1/2 to 1 medium egg, beaten

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Ingredients for filling:
9 ounces baby spinach or trimmed large spinach leaves
7 baby new potatoes, unpeeled (about 8 ounces)
4 eggs
9 ounces heavy cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper
zest of 1/2 lemon
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
pinch ground cayenne pepper
1 ounce parmesan cheese, finely grated
5 ounces goat cheese, cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch slices

Note: The uncooked dough can be frozen or kept in the fridge for a couple of days.

Preparing the tart:
Place the flour, salt, and butter in a food processor and pulse briefly. Add half the beaten egg and continue to pulse. Add a little more egg, but not too much as the mixture should be just moist enough to come together.

If making by hand, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse bread crumbs. Then, using your hands, add just enough egg to bring the dough together. With your hands, flatten out the ball of dough, until it is about 3/4-inch thick, and then wrap in plastic wrap, or place in a plastic bag, and leave in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the tart tin with the dough and blind bake.
Cook's Note: Blind Baking. To pre-bake a pastry shell before adding filling, first chill the pastry, and then line your pan. Line the pastry with foil, parchment or greaseproof paper, leaving plenty to come up the sides. Fill with baking beans (alternatively, for a really smooth finish use plastic wrap to line the pastry: place 2 sheets over the pastry, add the beans and bring the edges into the center.) Whichever method you choose, bake 'blind' in a 350 degree F oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the pastry feels dry.

Remove the paper and beans, and brush with a little leftover beaten egg, and return to the oven for 2 minutes. If there are any little holes or cracks in the pastry, just patch it up with any leftover raw pastry before you return it to the oven. Remove from the oven, and set aside in the pan while you make the filling. The pastry can be baked a day in advance and kept covered until you need it.


For sweet shortcrust pastry, in place of the pinch of salt, use 1 tablespoon of icing sugar.

For sour cream shortcrust pastry, replace the egg with 2 tablespoons of sour cream or creme fraiche, adding just enough to bring the dough together.

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Preparing the filling:
Wash and dry the spinach, removing any tough stalks and stems, if using large spinach leaves. In a medium-size saucepan, cook the spinach in just the water that's clinging to it, over a low heat until it wilts. Drain the spinach in a colander or sieve, and let cool a little, then squeeze most of the moisture out with your hands, and roughly chop.

Steam or boil the potatoes until just cooked. Cool the potatoes and when cool enough to handle, cut them into 1/4-inch thick slices.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, salt, and pepper, lemon zest, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, and grated parmesan. Add the spinach, and mix through. Season well with salt and pepper.

Spread the potato slices over the base of the prepared tart, and dot with the goat's cheese, reserving a few slices of each to place on the top. Gently spoon the spinach cream mixture over the cheese, as much as possible without spilling. Place the pan in the oven, and then add the remaining filling, and any remaining potato, and cheese slices.

Bake until the tart is golden brown and just set in the center, about 35 to 40 minutes. Remove the tart from the oven, and let cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 6


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