Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Cauliflower and Speck Tart

So the weekend is approaching and you want something home baked that tastes luxurious, can be eaten for brunch, lunch or dinner and isn't too much of a drama to put together. Look no further than today's dish - a delicious creamy cauliflower and speck tart. The tart is richer tasting than a plain old quiche, with gorgeous Gruyere cheese, white cauliflower and the delicious salty/savoury character of the speck making it super flavoursome. It has a creamy, melting texture that will make it hard to stop at just one slice.

A hint about cooking the tart - don't be tempted to overcook it - you want it to be in the oven until the egg/cream mixture has just set. This ensures that it retains a lovely creamy texture. You can eat it warm or cold, but warm is my preference. The flavours seem to really come alive and you get to enjoy that rich, creamy texture at it's best.

I have chosen speck for this recipe as I love having that lovely smokey, salty hit that those small cubes of speck give you - but if you can't get it where you are (most delis should have it) you could substitute plain bacon - although the flavour will be a lot milder.

You could easily make smaller individual tarts if you wanted to - the ingredients below will make 4-6 small tarts or one large one.

Straight out of the oven

Cauliflower and Speck Tart
You will need: 1 large sheet shortcrust pastry, 1/2 cooked cauliflower cut into florets, 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1 clove finely chopped garlic, 1 large brown onion finely chopped, 250g speck cut into small cubes, 6 free range eggs, 1 cup cream, 1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese, 1/2 cup grated tasty cheese, salt & pepper, pinch cayenne pepper, 2 pinches freshly grated nutmeg, 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives.
Method: Preheat the oven to 200C. Line a large quiche or tart tin with baking paper. Press the pastry into the quiche tin. Lay another sheet of baking paper over the top. Fill with baking beads if you have them – if not, you can use dry beans or rice. Blind bake the pastry for about 10-15 minutes. Remove the baking beads and the paper and allow to cool.
Heat a pan and add the olive oil, onion, garlic and speck. Cook on a medium heat for about 10 minutes until the onion is transparent and the speck has browned a little. Season with a little salt and pepper. Spoon the mixture evenly into the pastry case. Arrange the florets of cooked cauliflower evenly on top of the speck mixture.
In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, cayenne, nutmeg, salt, pepper and about 2/3 of the cheese. Pour the mixture into the pastry case. Top with the remaining cheese and sprinkle with the fresh chives.
Bake at 200C for 35-40 minutes or until the egg mixture is just set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little before cutting into slices.

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