Herb Cheddar Tart2010-06-03
During our menu preparation for the Memorial day holiday feast I was trying to decide on an appetizer beyond simple snacks. I recalled a cooking class at a local french restaurant where they served a nice warm slice of quiche as part of our follow on lunch and recalled the wonderful fresh herb flavor. I found a recipe for a Cantal cheese tart in Bon appettit and decided to adjust it to our needs. It turns out that Cantal is a french version of cheddar cheese.
The first thing to consider with any tart is the crust. Everyone has their own favorite pie crust. Some swear by butter, others lard or shortening or a mixture of the two. Too much water and you won’t get the results you want but you need to roll it out. For that issue, we have heard that you can use vodka instead of some of the water to make it more easy to roll and it will just evaporate and not affect the delicate balance of water, fat and flour. Use your own pie crust recipe and just add the herbs as noted below or try our best and easy pastry recipe.
The aroma from the tart coming out of the oven was amazing. Every mouthful was a taste sensation with the cheddar blending amazingly well with the shallots and chives. I strongly recommend you try this tart. I would eat it anytime of the day and doubt this tart could last a day in your house. Next time it will be a large slice with a salad for dinner.
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 lb lard (chilled)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 large egg (optional for larger batch, see notes)
4 tablespoons ice cold water
1 tablespoon thyme (fresh)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup chopped shallots (about 2 large)
1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
3 large eggs
1/8 teaspoon (scant) freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon (scant) freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon chives
2 cups coarsely grated cheddar cheese
Blend flour, salt and thyme in processor 5 seconds (see crust recipe for manual method). Add lard pulsing on and off until very coarse meal forms. Add 3 tablespoons ice water and 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Blend until moist clumps form, adding remaining water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Form dough into ball and then flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic. Chill at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.
Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface until you have a 12 inch round. Fold into quarters and transfer to 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Unfold and gently put into place pressing in on the sides but not tearing or stretching the dough. Cut off all but 1/2-inch overhang. Fold overhang in and press so that sides of dough rise 1/4 inch above rim of pan. Freeze crust 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line the crust with foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake crust until sides are set, about 20-25 minutes. Remove foil with weights from your blind bake. Bake crust until pale golden, piercing with fork if crust bubbles, about 10-20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Cool crust.
Melt butter in heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add shallots. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until soft and beginning to color, about 4 minutes. Transfer shallots to crust and spread evenly on the bottom. Whisk together the cream, eggs, pepper, nutmeg, salt, and chives in medium bowl. Mix in the cheddar cheese. Pour the custard into crust. Bake until filling is set in center, 35 to 38 minutes. Transfer tart to rack and cool 15 to 30 minutes. Push up pan bottom, releasing tart. Serve tart warm or at room temperature.
Serves 12 (as an appetizer)
Use a quality cheddar cheese.
Our pastry recipe include an egg with the version that creates two doubles.
Modified from Bon Appetit
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