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Party Food

Shallot, Fig and Blue Cheese Tart Mixed With a Little Trip to London!

Only a quick post for you this week folks.  For those of you that don’t know I and heading down to London on Monday to take part in Channel 4′s programme, ‘Baking Mad with Eric Lanlard‘.  Filming is going to take place in Eric’s cake shop, Cake Boy and  I will be competing with two other bakers in a mini bake off to win a masterclass with Eric afterwards.  The theme is cheesecake, so as you can imagine I have cheesecake coming out of my ears at the moment with all of the practicing I have been doing.  I have finally decided on what sort of cheesecake I am going to bake and am now concentrating on the decoration.  I’m very excited and nervous all rolled into one!

I will be blogging the chosen cheesecake recipe in a few weeks, but today the recipe is for a fig, shallot and blue cheese tart.  I made this tart a week ago as we were hosting a family party at my house and although I was not catering completely (everyone was bringing something) I was keen to try out something new.  The other thing to say is that I LOVE figs, LOVE blue cheese and LOVE sweetly cooked onion so I was confident that this would get the big thumbs up from me.  These flavours just go so well together. Sweet fig and shallot, against the salty blue cheese brought together with cream and eggs. Superb!  But before I give you the recipe I wanted to list why I think savoury tarts are so special and definitely worth making from time to time.

  • They are a great winter supper cooked with a jacket potato and your choice of veg
  • Fantastic summer lunch served with salad and garlic bread
  • Versatile – eaten all year round
  • You can make double and freeze one (very handy mid week)
  • Great party food (mine did not last 2 mins)
  • Perfect for experimentation depending on what is in season and what your preferences are
  • Easy to make, especially if you use shop brought pastry which is perfectly acceptable and totally allowed

Now that you are all convinced that savoury tarts are a good thing to make, have a go at this.  You wont be disappointed.

This recipe was inspired from one I found on the BBC Good Food website, but I have made a few subtle but noticeable changes.

What you will need:

Pastry

175g plain flour

75g wholemeal flour

150g unsalted butter cut into small cubes

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg

Filling

400g shallots, peeled and finely chopped

few springs of fresh thyme

dash of olive and a small knob of butter

3 tbsp balsamic vinegar

4 eggs

200ml crème fraiche

200ml double cream

140g blue cheese (your choice)

3-4 fresh figs, cut in half

A 20-23cm tart tin, greased

How to make:

I’m going to explain how I make my pastry in the food processor.  You can of course make it by hand, (or buy it) but this is so easy.  In fact, I would argue that it is much less effort than getting out the house and going to the shop…or maybe that is just me with 3 kids in tow.

1. Put the flour, salt and butter into the food processor and mix until it looks like breadcrumbs.  Add the egg and mix until a soft smooth dough is formed.  Wrap in cling film and put into the fridge for at least half an hour.  This pastry can be kept in the fridge for up to 4 days or frozen so a good one to make in advance.

2. Put the butter and olive oil in the saucepan, then add the shallots and thyme and start cooking on a low heat.  After about 5 mins add the balsamic vinegar and cook for a further 10 mins stirring regularly until soft

3. Preheat you oven to 200c/400f/gas 6.  Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured work surface, transfer to the tart tin, gently press the sides of the pastry into the tin, (to prevent it folding over in the oven) prick the base with a fork and blind bake with baking balls on top of greaseproof paper for 15 mins

4. Mix the eggs and cream in a large bowl, season and add the blue cheese.  Once cooled add your shallot mixture and stir together.

5. Once pastry is blind baked, take out of the oven and turn oven down to 170c/325f/gas 3.  Remove baking balls and greaseproof paper, then pour in your filling.  Place your cut figs, inside up around the tart.  Cook in the oven for about 50 mins – 1 hour until it as started to brown.  It should still have a bit of a wobble when you take it out.  It will continue to set as it cools.

PS:  I also did a review of some Valentines Chocs this week. Worth a read if you fancy putting some chocolates on your wish list for 14th Feb.

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2 Comments

  1. ChocletteJanuary 28, 2012 at 7:26 pmReply

    Good Luck with Eric. Sounds very scary, but I’m sure you’ll have fun!

    I need no convincing about tarts, I love them and this combination sounds like my idea of heaven. My problem is I hate making pastry, so hardly ever make tarts. I don’t buy shop brought pastry either as it’s full of all sorts of ingredients I wouldn’t use myself. BUT I’m so wanting a slice of this now.

    • Homemade By FleurJanuary 28, 2012 at 11:31 pmReplyAuthor

      Thank you. I’m looking forward to Monday and seeing it as a bit of fun.

      Hmmm, I agree, pastry can be a pain, but it’s so worth it for something a bit special. Let me know if you give it a go.

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