Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Italian ham and spinach tart - Jamie at Home

If you looking for something to make for brunch or even a simple lunch with some friends, this tart will hit the spot. The flavours are a perfect match, from the sweet flavour of the red onion and the parmesan cheese mixed in with the creme fraiche, down to the slight hit of rosemary and thyme you get from the shortcrust pastry. By the way, this pastry = very tasty!!

I have never made this one before but it's on my list to make again now (ok B I will make another for you and Mr Always-Hungry-B!!).

I made the pastry from the same book as the tart - Jamie at home - Cook your way to the good life. The pastry was quite easy (I know what your saying "Yeah right!") but it really is. You really can't go wrong, as I've said before the less you handle the dough, the better it will hold up. You can always put it in the fridge for longer or put it back in the fridge again if you find you are losing patience with how soft it is.

The best savoury shortcrust pastry (pg353)

500g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
200g butter cut into cubes (it actually says lard in his book but I just used butter)
50g freshly grated cheddar cheese
1 sprig of fresh rosemary, leaves picked
1 few sprigs of fresh tyme, leave picked
2 large eggs
a splash of milk (which I didn't use)

This savoury pastry is good for making tarts, quiches and the like. Jamie says the two main principles behind making it are the same as for sweet pastry: stick to a ratio of half fat to flour, and bring the pastry together as quickly as possible without pulsing the dough too much.

You can flavour the savoury one in different ways, try things like paprika, black pepper or nutmeg instead of the rosemary and thyme like I did. He also says feel free to use butter instead of lard as suggested.

Put the flour, butter, cheese and generous pinch of sea salt into a food processor and pulse for 20 to 30 seconds or until the mixture is crumbly and fine. Add the rosemary and thyme leaves or your chosen flavouring.

Pour in the eggs and add the milk. Pulse for a few more seconds until the mixture comes together. Scoop your dough out of the food processor on to a clean floured work surface and pat it a few times to make it more compact - don't be tempted to knead it.

Wrap the dough in gladwrap and place it in the fridge to rest for at least half an hour (this is key to rolling success). After half an hour get your pastry out and roll it with a floured rolling pin into a rectangle shape about .5cm thick and gig enough to line a shallow baking tray about 30 x 40cm.

Line your baking tray with paper and place your pastry onto the tray. Trim excess off the edges of the tray, leaving a 1cm overhang. Pinch this overhanging dough up to give a little rim. This not only gives it a rustic edge but also stops the pastry from shrinking and it means theres's no need to fill the pastry case with beans or rice before baking it blind. Prick the pastry all over with a fork and chill in the freezer for another 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees/375F/gas 5. Remove the tray from the fridge/freezer and bake your pastry case in the preheated oven for 6 to 8 minutes, until lightly golden. This is called baking it blind, and it stops the pastry from going soggy when you add the filling.

You will need the following for the filling: (page 347 Jamie at home)
olive oil
3 red oinions, peeled and finely sliced
1 clove of garlic, peeled and sliced
350g spinach, washed and thick stems removed (I used baby spinach)
a few sprigs of fresh marjoram or oregano, leaves picked and chopped
sea salt and black pepper
500g creme fraiche (I found this in the cream section of woolies, it has a picture of masterchef on it!)
150g freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for grating
3 large eggs
200g cooked smoked ham, torn into shreds or chopped ( I used some smoked shaved ham just from my local deli)

Next, heat a glug of olive oil in a large frying pan and gently fry the onions on a low heat for 10 minutes until they're soft and sweet, but don't let them colour. Turn up the heat, add the garlic, the spinach (in batches if your pan isn't big enough) and most of the oregano or marjoram. Season lightly and give it a good stir. Take the pan off the heat whent he spinach has wilted - this will only take a couple of minutes.

To make the filling mixture, put the creme fraiche into a bowl, stir in the Parmesan, eggs and a pinch of salt and pepper, mix together and set aside. Now spread the spinach mixture over your pastry case. Sprinkle over the ham, and spoon the mixture evenly over the top, smoothing it out with the back of the spoon.
Grate over a generous helping of Parmesan, sprinkle over the rest of the marjoran or oregano leaves and drizzle with some olive oil.

Bake in a preheated oven for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the top is golden and bubbling and the filling has set. Lovely served with a little salad.
Enjoy M xx

No comments:

Post a comment