I spotted this recipe in a copy of "Ocado life" magazine which my brother passed on. He came to France for a two week holiday, bringing the magazine with him, thinking I might like it. I did!
At the time of writing you can see the original recipe here.
Jerusalem artichokes are still available here in our part of France. I don't know if that's normal or not as until my recent adventures with Palestine soup (see here) I have never really taken much notice of them. A friend who lives here in France gave us some roots from her artichoke plants which we have planted and are doing really well so I look forward to harvesting our own artichokes later in the year.
The only snag with the original recipe is that it uses blue cheese, of which Nick is not a fan, although I am.
I'm particularly fond of the blue sheep's cheese paste that you can get here and always buy myself a pot of it. It has a strong flavour and is delicious spread thinly on crackers or "crostini" - those dry mini toasts that come in packets and are very handy for nibbles served with apéros. Add a blob of soft cheese and a piece of walnut on top of the blue spread and they are yummy!
I digress........ We were having dinner guests and I was not sure about their cheese preferences either so I decided to make the tart in two halves. One half blue cheese and the other goat's cheese. I was planning to serve small slices of the tart with salad as a starter.
The recipe included 15g hazelnuts which I didn't have so I used a handful of walnuts instead. (It's interesting that the Palestine soup recipe also included hazelnuts so maybe it's a traditional pairing, like chicken and tarragon, or beef and mustard.) The walnuts gave the filling a nice crunch and added to the very earthy, rustic flavour and appearance of it.
The method also said to drape the pastry over the edge of the tart tin and leave untrimmed until after baking. I have had mixed success with this in the past, trimming the baked tart sometimes resulting in the loss of chunks of the edge and making it look rather untidy. The alternative is to trim before baking which often results in the tart case shrinking. It's a toss up as to which is best IMHO but on this occasion trimming later rather than sooner resulted in a perfect finish. Take your pick!
It was a success, although somewhat more faffy than I would normally go for, hence the two stars rating. The preference was 50/50 for the blue or goat side of the tart and there was plenty left to enjoy the next day. We had ours with some rocket dressed with home made French dressing. Delicious!
a pack of ready made, ready rolled shortcrust pastry (or make your own)
approx 350g Jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed
2 sprigs of thyme, leaves stripped
1-2 tblsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 onion, peeled and sliced
approx 200g chestnut mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
a small handful of shelled walnuts, roughly chopped
75g of blue cheese (or goat's cheese, or a mixture, or any cheese you like)
150 ml double cream
150 ml semi skimmed milk
Preheat the oven to 200° C / 180° fan / gas mk 6. Grease a 20cm loose bottomed tart tin.
Chop the scrubbed artichokes and put them into a roasting tin, add the thyme leaves and drizzle with the olive oil. Roast for 30 minutes, turning once.
Add the onions, garlic and walnuts, mix together and roast for a further 20 minutes, turning once.
Line the tart tin with the pastry, allowing the excess to drape over the sides. Place the tin on a baking sheet (I find this makes getting the tin into and out of the oven easier). Prick the base, line with baking paper, fill with baking beans and bake for 20 minutes. You can do this while the veg are still roasting but watch your timings!
Take the pastry case from the oven, remove the beans and paper and bake for a further 5 minutes to result in a nice, crisp and golden base.
Meanwhile, make the custard filling by putting the eggs, cream and milk into a jug and whisk together. Season with salt and pepper.
Tip the roasted veg into the baked tart case, crumble the blue cheese on top (or arrange the slices if using goat's cheese) pour over the liquid filling and return to the oven for 20 minutes or until set. Don't over bake as a slight wobble in the middle is just right.
Allow to cool slightly before trimming the pastry edge. Serve warm.
Makes 4-6 servings a main course, 6-8 as a starter.