…and we started with this tart.
A broccoli, mushroom, courgette and gouda tart to be precise.
It’s not the prettiest thing, nor perhaps the most structurally sound (we had some severe issues with a leaky bottom), but with cheese, nutmeg and pastry, you can’t go far wrong.
Here is how we made it, what we learned and what we’d change…
for the pastry
350g plain flour
generous pinch of salt and pepper
220g unsalted butter, frozen and grated
2 medium free-range egg yolks
for the filling
medium-sized stalk of broccoli, cut into florets
half a courgette, chopped
10 chestnut mushrooms, chopped
4 medium free-range eggs
quarter of one nutmeg, grated
thyme and rosemary to taste
salt and pepper to taste
200g Gouda, grated
You will also need a 28 cm flan tin.
Sift the flour, salt and pepper into a mixing bowl. Rub in the grated butter until the mixture starts to resemble bread crumbs. Stir in the egg yolks, preferably with cold fingers or a round-bladed knife, until the dough comes together. If the mixture is too dry, stir in a little ice water. Press the dough together, wrap in clingfilm, and chill for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 190°/gas mark 5. Once chilled, roll out the dough, and line your flan tin with it. Prick the base with a fork, then fill with parchment paper and baking beans. Blind bake for 15 minutes, then remove the parchment paper and beans and bake again for around 7 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown.
To prepare the filling, parboil the broccoli. Beat the eggs and milk in a jug and season with nutmeg, herbs and salt and pepper. Drain the broccoli and add to the pastry case, along with the courgette and mushrooms. Add the egg mixture and top with the grated cheese.
Bake for 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes.
Mistakes we made so you don’t have to:
1. Loose-bottomed flan tins are the enemy. Leaks can be avoided by using solid, one-piece dishes.
2. To make this a non-vegetarian meal, we would replace the mushrooms with some chicken.
3. Ricotta, or a strongly flavoured cheese of your preference, would make for a handsome addition to this tart.
4. This tart benefits from a short rest after being removed from the oven. We were a little too eager to reap our spoils and were rewarded with sagging pastry walls. Oh dear…