21 November 2012

Goat's cheese, leek & hazelnut super-smart tart!

Now there are some tarts that are nice but dull - and some tarts that are surprisingly delicious.  This is one of the latter.

I liked the idea of this tart for more than one reason.

First of all, I really like leeks - they're the only one of the onion family that I can eat without experiencing some severe regret in the tummy department, later on.  I particularly like the way they are so adaptable and can be used in so many different ways.  My favourite leek recipe is the Tave Me Presh or Baked Mince with Leeks.  If you haven't tried this recipe yet, do give it a go.  Trust me, it's fabulous.

Goat's cheese always gets a thumbs up from me.  There was a time when I found goat's cheese to be entirely too "goaty" for comfort.  It always tasted wonderful, but I just couldn't get past the smell.  It always brought back memories of Harvey - a goat-I-once-knew - and his stinky beard.  ~shudder~  Why boy goats think it's sexy to pee on their own faces (which could be defined as a talent, I suppose), God only knows.

These days, I seem to have been able to get past the Eau de Harvey and into the lovely creamy texture and fresh flavour of goat's cheese.  So I could imagine how the creamy goat's cheese would go so well with buttery leeks.

The tips of the goat's cheese caught a tiny bit - but it certainly didn't mar the flavour!

Now the addition of hazelnuts to the equation is a new one - and jolly interesting, I thought.  I have to be careful over the use of nuts in my cooking, as hubby has some tooth issues and we don't want him to lose one of them on a surprise nut.  The problem was easily dealt with, as the nuts are sprinkled on top of the tart filling as opposed to being mixed in.  I simply sprinkled hazelnuts over three quarters of the tart - and sprinkled a little red chilli on hubby's portion.  Where there's a will, there's a way!

It may seem ridiculous to be concerning one's self over the fat involved in pastry, when the filling of the tart includes full fat creme fraiche and full fat goat's cheese.  However, as the old lady said as she wee'd in the sea - every little helps.  Because this tart uses filo pastry sheets to build up its pie crust, you can at least consider that a certain amount of fat has been reduced.  Aha, yes, I hear you thinking "but, surely you need to brush the filo pastry with melted butter?".  No - you don't.  I know, it goes against all previously received wisdom, but you just lay the pastry sheets down - and fill them up with filling, then bake.  Don't ask me why or how, but it works.

I gave the egg mixture a jolly good whisking before pouring into the pastry and I think it was worth doing so, as the filling rose beautifully.  It was light and fluffy - almost souffle-like, although I hadn't taken the eggs that far.  All in all, it made for a lovely light, fluffy forkful of deliciousness.

I served the tart with a simple salad made with a watercress/lambs lettuce/rocket combination of salad leaves and a diced avocado.  Just think of all the lovely nutrients we gained from that combination.  I always feel healthier just thinking about eating watercress and avocado, never mind actually doing it!

I also made some mini Paprika Roast Potatoes, which went extremely well with the whole combination.  They aren't so bad as you might think, either, as you simply dice the potato then toss it in a tablespoonful of rapeseed oil (which has health benefits all on its own), a pinch of salt and pepper and 1 tsp of sweet smoked paprika.  Roast in a hot oven (I put them on the rack above the tart, which was cooking at 180degF) for some 45 minutes, remembering to give them a toss around half way through and you're done.

Obviously, hubby knew that the tart was vegetarian - but I seriously doubt that son & heir even gave it a moment's thought that he had no meat on his plate.  Now that's the kind of meat-free meal that makes you want to serve another! 

With the salad and the roast paprika potatoes, it made for a satisfying meal


Ingredients :

4 large filo pastry sheets, halved
a knob of butter
1 leek, trimmed, quartered lengthways and sliced finely
1 tsp Dijon mustard
250g creme fraiche d'isigny (or low fat creme fraiche if you must)
2 medium eggs
140g soft goat's cheese
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
25g toasted hazelnuts, chopped.

Method :

1.  Pre-heat your oven to 180degC/350degF/Gas 4.

2.  Taking one half sheet of filo pastry at a time, lay it into the bottom of a 23cm quiche dish or loose bottomed tart tin.  Without brushing with oil, lay the next one at an angle to the first - and so on - until the sheets have covered the tin and formed a base for the tart, with no gaps for leaks and with the edges draped over the sides of the tin.

3.  Heat the knob of butter in a frying pan and once melted, add the leek pieces.  Cook on a gentle heat until softened but not browned at all.  Set aside to cool slightly.

4.  In a large bowl, whisk together the mustard, creme fraiche, eggs and a third of the goat's cheese.

5.  Add the leeks and stir through, including some seasoning.

6.  Pour the egg mixture into the flan case and add pieces of the remainder of the goat's cheese, distributing them evenly.

7.  Sprinkle over the hazelnuts and fold in the overhanging pieces of filo pastry.  Brush these with a little oil.

8.  Bake the tart for some 25-30 minutes, until the filling is risen and golden, with just a little jiggle left in the centre.

9.  Allow to cool in the tin for some 10 minutes or so, then remove and cool until just warm.

Serve with some mini paprika roast potatoes and a salad of watercress, rocket & spinach with avocado.

Printable version


  1. Looks tasty - just had your harissa lamb - another success - kids loved it!!

    1. It really was, Ali. Extremely moreish, too! Oh yes, I remember that Harissa lamb - we really liked it too. I'm so impressed that your kids loved it - that's awesome! :)

  2. Mmm, I love goat's cheese and hazelnuts together. Glad to hear it's not just me who has to make husband-safe zones in their cooking!

    1. *chuckle* You too, eh? Ah well, if it makes the difference between their liking it or disliking it - there's no contest. :)


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