RECIPE: Vintage Cheddar & Spinach Tartlets

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 roll Careme sour cream shortcrust pastry

  • 250gm vintage cheddar

  • 20gm fresh coriander

  • 20gm fresh parsley

  • Handful basil leaves (optional)

  • 1/2 small red onion

  • 100g baby spinach

  • 1 medium clove garlic

  • 3 large eggs

  • 150ml whipping cream

  • quality salt

  • freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 medium red capsicum (to garnish)


INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Cut the cheddar into a rough dice. Pick basil leaves and roughly chop with coriander leaves and stems and parsley leaves and their tender stems. Peel and roughly chop the onion and garlic.

2. Add all of the prepared ingredients to the bowl of a food processor along with the cream, eggs and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Blend until a creamy and relatively smooth mix is formed.

3. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and refrigerate until needed.

4. Roll the pastry out onto a clean semolina dusted workbench, then dust with semolina over the top. Use an 8-10cm pastry cutter to cut as many circles out as possible. Scrunch, re-roll and cut extra bases until all the scraps have been used.

5. Working quickly to avoid the pastry warming and becoming more difficult to work with, gently guide each pastry circle into the base of a muffin tin mould to create mini tartlet bases. Once laid with pastry, transfer the filled trays to the fridge to chill for 20 minutes if they seem a little warm and soft.

6. Pre-heat oven to 190C.

7. When ready to bake, fill each mould with approx. one heaped tablespoon of mixture (or till almost filled to the rim). Once filled, transfer to the bottom shelf of the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

8. To remove the cooked tarts, simply cover the top of the muffin tray with a cooling rack and invert so the tarts slide straight out.

9. Best served warm with a garnish of finely sliced or diced fresh red capsicum.

TIPS:

You should still be able to see small pieces of cheese and herb leaves in the mixture once blended, so avoid over blending until completely smooth.

Pastry is much easier to work with cold, so use straight from the fridge and refrigerate in between re-rolling if the pastry becomes soft and difficult to work with.

I like to use semolina to dust the pastry as it’s not only perfect for preventing the pastry from sticking, but also adds a beautiful texture to the tart once cooked.

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