4 November 2010

Birthday High Tea No. 2 : Tuna & cheese tart

The tart, prior to having its pastry crust trimmed
I have been after, since time immemorial, my Mum's recipe for her Salmon Tartlets.

Lo and behold, she turned it up the other day and sent me a copy - right in time for me to be able to make a version of it for Son's birthday High Tea.

You know how some dishes stay in your memory, long after the occasions they were made for have vanished?  Well this is one of those.  I seem to remember our having the Salmon Tartlets at just about every Christmas tea-time, when you're so stuffed from Christmas Dinner that all you can really manage is one leetle tartlet and a wafer-thin mint.  They have resided in my memory, alongside a big sign which says "YUM" for as long as I can remember, so you can imagine how pleased I was to finally get the recipe.

However, needless to say, I couldn't quite run to Salmon on the ole budget but Tuna goes very well with Cheddar cheese in a Tuna Pasta Bake, so I figured that Tuna would be an acceptable replacement, as indeed it was.  Chillibob was surprised at the lack of white sauce, he expected it to come up a lot more "saucy" than it does.  However that was his expectation as opposed to the recipe's results, as my Tuna version actually came up a lot "saucier" than my Mum's remembered Salmon versions!

Apart from the denomination of fish, the tart differs from my Mum's recipe in that the original has you make individual leetle tart cases for filling.  I didn't have a suitable tart tray (mine having died when the boiler began leaking, one day) so I made one big tart and divided it into slices on the day.

TUNA & CHEESE TART (serves 6 for a buffet, or 4 if you're hungry!)

Ingredients :

1 small can of Tuna in spring water
a white sauce mix, including enough milk (or make a sauce from scratch with a Roux)
half a lemon, zested
black pepper, to taste
cheddar cheese, grated, to cover

Method :

This recipe presumes that you have already either made or bought a shortcrust pastry case, approx 8" across.

1.  Pre-heat your oven to 180deg C (fan).  Make up the sauce mix, including some generous seasoning as the fish - being in spring water - doesn't have any added salt.  Set aside to cool.

2.  Decant the fish into a bowl and lightly break up the chunks.  Add the lemon zest and a bit more pepper.

3.  Add the sauce spoonful by spoonful until you achieve the desired consistency, which is one where there's just enough sauce to hold everything together, but not so much that it is loose and runny.

4.  Add the fish mixture to the pastry case, smooth until it's level and sprinkle a covering of cheddar cheese over.

5.  Bake in the oven for 30 mins (or more, depending on the thickness of your cheese), then allow to cool before serving.

Serve as part of a buffet, or with a jacket potato or salad (or both!) as a main meal.

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