Sunday, 31 August 2014

Tarte au Chevre (Goat's Cheese and Onion Quiche)

Shamelessly stolen from the February 2011 issue of the Observer Food Monthly, where they share some excellent French recipes. I cheated and used store-bought pastry, and it wasn't as good, but I didn't have time to make it myself. I also had the wrong size tin so had to scale the recipe up by about 40%, and it worked fine, with 5 minutes extra cooking time.

We served this with their baked fennel (shown in the background of the photo), but I didn't find it a sufficient improvement on braised fennel to actually warrant bothering in future, unless I already had the oven on and felt like using the spare energy to heat something up.

For the quiche, you'll need a round 22cm tart tin at least 3.5cm deep with a removable base and beans for baking blind. I was extremely sceptical of their instructions for greasing the tin, but they really worked! One layer of butter, then another of flour.

For the pastry
  • 200g flour
  • 100g butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • a little milk
For the filling
  • 400g onions (usually 2-3)
  • 25g butter
  • 2 tsp thme leaves
  • 2 eggs
  • 200g creme fraiche or sour cream
  • 200g full cream milk
  • 180g goat's cheese
Blitz the flour and butter together in a food processor, until it forms tiny breadcrumbs. Stir in the egg yolk and enough milk to make a pastry dough. Pat the pastry into a flat round and roll out large enough to line the tart tin. Lightly butter the tin and dust it with a small amount of flour, shaking off any excess. Lay the dough into the tin and push it right into the corners without stretching. Trim off the overhanging pastry and repair any holes. Chill for 20 minutes.

At 200C, pre-bake the pastry case, using greaseproof paper (or foil) and baking beans to hold down the base. After 20 minutes, remove the case from the oven, pour out the beans, remove the paper and bake again for another 5 minutes, until the base is dry to the touch. Remove from the oven and turn it down to 180C.

While the crust is pre-baking, you can finely slice and fry the onions in the butter and thyme for a good 20 minutes, over a low heat, until they are totally falling apart, golden and tender. Beat the eggs and creme fraiche together, then slowly add the milk. (It will look like way too much, but the volumes do work out!) When you have blind-baked the pastry shell, put the onions in a layer on the bottom, crumble over the goat's cheese, then pour over the rest of the filling mixture. Bake at 180C for 40 minutes. The centre should quiver when gently shaken. Let it rest for at least 10 minutes, so you can serve it warm.

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