Monday, July 20, 2009

Spinach and Gruyere tart

Either my pastry-making - which is certainly fallible - or the use of Dove's gluten-free flour caused the crust of this tart to be disappointing. It was dry and powdery. But the filling was delicious.

For the pastry, I used 200g of flour, 100g of butter, and a few tbsps of water. I cut the butter into cubes, and put it and the flour into the fridge before rubbing it in. I had my water in a bowl with some ice, and added it until the mixture cohered. I wrapped the pastry in clingfilm, and put it back into the fridge.

When the time came to line the tart tin (a 22cm one), I followed Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's advice and grated it in, before pressing it down and round the edges. I blind-baked it, roughly as he describes.

For the filling, I used:

1 bag spinach
1 whole egg, 2 yolks
150ml double cream
150ml milk
100g Gruyere
Grated nutmeg

Wash the spinach, remove the thicker stalks, cram it into a pan, and put it, covered, on to a high heat. Allow it to wilt for a minute or so, then uncover the pan and continue to cook, stirring, until all the leaves are wilted. Drain.

When the spinach is cool enough to handle, squeeze out the water. Doing it thoroughly is important, because otherwise the liquid will dilute the custard and stop it setting.

Beat the eggs. Stir them into the milk and cream. Stir in the cheese. Grate in a little nutmeg and salt.

Spread the spinach over the pastry base. Pour over the custard mixture. Place the tin on a baking sheet, and bake at gas mark 3/160C for 30 to 45 minutes, until the custard is set.

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