On to the plate

Experimenting with flavours, colours and style of food served at our place

Goat Cheese Tart and a real sense of anxiety

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Following on from my Roast Strawberry and Goat Cheese toast I was somewhat apprehensive about using Goat Cheese.

Mum had gone to some effort to get the Goat Cheese and I wasn’t about to throw the little that was left, away.

I decided to make a Goat Cheese Tart during the week, and searched (online) for recipes.

I have modified the recipe I found somewhat, because I didn’t have enough goats cheese and the goat cheese I had was plain.

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The recipe called for 250gm of goat cheese. I weighed mine and had 60gm left, which included it’s crust. I’m sure there’s a proper name for it. I wasn’t going to include that especially since it had decided to continue to culture in the fridge.

After a bit of research I found that I could swap goats cheese for feta. Not necessarily the best option but it was all I needed to be sure this would work.

Filling

Having first rinsed the feta under water to rid it of the brine I soaked it overnight in milk. This would assist, if not eliminate, the saltiness of the feta.

I’ve never made a savoury tart dish. I’ve made Bacon and Egg pie, which is nothing more than using store bought pastry and adding bacon and egg.

I’ve made pastry before, but sweet pastry for Christmas Mince Pies and my other favourite, Rhubarb and Strawberry Pie.

I have to say I’m somewhat overjoyed with the way the pastry turned out. I followed the instructions to a T and I really liked the description of what the butter should look like. After making this I’ve got to wonder if I’ve over done the butter in my sweet pastry, only that I don’t end up with the little clumps of butter visible in the pastry. And as I’ve been learning, the clumps of butter keep the pastry light.

Pastry

Also this pastry required no kneading. You read that right, NO KNEADING. Simply gather it all together, which will require you to probably turn it over a couple of times to make sure you’ve collected it all but that’s it. And look at the little clumps of buttery goodness still in there.

The other new thing to me was using tin foil to blind bake the pastry, and to prick the pastry 2/3 of the way through the baking.

I don’t care if this method seems a little unconventional, that pastry was so light and flaky and crispy that I’ll be using some of those same methods in the future for other pastry.

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One of the big things that was really playing on my mind was whether this would be edible for us. What if the flavour was still too strong, what if the use of feta ruined the texture.

I was all set to make cheese on toast, that was my backup plan.

When I finished taking photos I asked Mr Fussy who was going to be first to taste. He wasted no time, that surprised me. I thought he might take a tentative bite but he didn’t. So when he said (nodding his head) it was good, with enthusiasm, I had to ask if he was being serious. He was! I don’t think I even hid the relief I felt. Next up was my MIL. And the same result, it was good. So I tucked in. I loved the pastry and the flavour was ok, but I think it could have done with a little more of something. Though some bites had more flavour than others. Probably that bits where the real goat cheese was hidden away.

The original recipe can be found on this webpage. It’s by Ina Garten. The recipe below includes my changes and additions.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups standard flour, plus more for the work surface
  • Table salt (1/4 tsp in the pastry and same again in the filling)
  • 170gm salted butter – plus a knob of butter for frying the shallots and garlic
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water (I used 4 Tbs of chilled water)
  • 3/4 cup chopped shallots (3 to 4 shallots)
  • 3 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 200gm goat feta
  • 50gm soft goat cheese
  • 1 cup thickened cream
  • 3 large eggs (I always use size 7)
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil leaves
  • 1/2 tsp chopped fresh Thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Heat the oven to 180 degrees C. Set the rack in the centre of the oven, and use the Bake setting.
  • For the crust, put the flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade.
  • Cut the butter into cubs, add to the bowl, and pulse until the butter is the size of peas. With the processor running, add the chilled water all at once and process until the dough becomes crumbly. Don’t over-process.
  • Tip the dough out on a floured work surface, collect it into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Roll the dough on a well-floured board and fit it into a 9 or 10 inch tart pan (fluted side) with a removable base. Roll the pin over the top to cut off the excess dough.
  • Butter 1 side of a square of tin foil and fit it, butter side down, into the tart pan. Fill the foil with rice or beans. Bake for 20 minutes.
  • Remove the beans and foil from the shell, prick the bottom all over with a fork, and bake for another 10 minutes.
  • During the last 10 minutes of cooking, add the knob of butter in a small pan and saute the shallots and garlic over low heat for 5 minutes, or until tender.
  • Place the goat cheese and feta in the bowl of the food processor and process until crumbly.
  • Add the cream, eggs, basil, thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and the pepper and process until blended and creamy.
  • Scatter the cooked shallots and garlic over the bottom of the tart shell.
  • Pour the goat cheese mixture over the shallots and garlic to fill the shell (if the shell has shrunk, there may be leftover filling, not for me as my flan dish measured 10inches).
  • Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the tart is firm when shaken and the top is lightly browned.
  • Allow to cool for 10 minutes and serve hot or at room temperature.

Serve with a chutney and with salad if you like.

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