Monday, July 15, 2013

Caramelised (Smoked) Garlic Tart

I love summer. I love barbecues. I love veggie foods. I love Ottolenghi. No, I really, REALLY love Ottolenghi. So the other Sunday I was in my element as I was able to express my love for all of these things over the course of a day culminating in a beautiful sunny afternoon spent barbecuing (sorry, watching Bailey barbecuing) and eating side dishes from Ottolenghi's veggie classic Plenty.

While Plenty is technically a vegetarian cookbook, I rarely think of it as such and I don't think many meat eating home cooks do either (correct me if I'm wrong). What that man can do with vegetables is little short of miraculous and I doubt many people miss the meat in these recipes. I would never say Plenty is my favourite vegetarian cookbook, that would be doing it a disservice, it is my favourite cookbook full stop.

Aside from being an awesome all round book, Plenty is stuffed full of recipes that are amazing for barbecue side dishes. A couple of years ago before we had the two crappy summers in a row, we had BBQs most weekends in our old house; the Very Full Tart was a firm favourite and it felt like I made the Green Pancakes with Lime Butter so often I could have done it in my sleep (you can make them in advance then throw them onto the BBQ for a few minutes to heat up. Winner winner, spinach dinner).

Well now the sunshine is back and I'm dusting Plenty off and revisiting its well-thumbed pages. The Caramelised Garlic Tart recipe is one I'd always looked at with a mixture of awe and fear, staring at the picture depicting the many millions of garlic cloves wide-eyed. "Oof," Bailey and I would say, "can a tart with that amount of garlic in really be nice?!"

This time we decided to be brave and give it a go. The Friday night before the barbecue, Bailey had a brain wave of sticking the three heads of garlic called for by the recipe into his new ProQ smoker. Genius. This also meant I didn't need to blanch the garlic as per Ottolenghi's recipe as they'd already softened up a fair bit.

We loved the Caramelised (Smoked) Garlic Tart at the barbecue, I got lots of compliments even though the pastry was a bit 'soggy bottom' - don't think Paul and Mary would have been too impressed. I think I needed a metal tart tin. The verdict from Bailey was that the tart was "amazing" and "as good as the meat". After a bit of consideration he decided he still prefers the Very Full Tart but only just. Maybe one time I will make BOTH and it will be the best barbecue side selection EVER. Oh and by the way if you haven't got a copy of Plenty, what are you doing? Sort your life out, buy a copy.

375g puff pastry
3 heads of garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
220ml water
3 tsp caster sugar
3 sprigs thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
300g soft goat's cheese
2 eggs
100ml double cream
100ml creme fraiche
Salt and pepper

Start by rolling out the puff pastry big enough to fit in a tart dish with a little bit of pastry flying over the sides to spare. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C or gas mark 4.

Place the pastry inside the tart dish before lining the pastry with greaseproof paper. Fill the paper with baking beans or, if you're a pauper like me, rice.

Blind bake the pastry for 20 minutes. Take the paper and rice out of the tart case then bake for another 5 minutes, or until the pastry is starting to look browned.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Peel the garlic cloves and pop them in a frying pan with the oil and fry on a high heat for a couple of minutes. Add the water and balsamic vinegar to the pan and bring to the boil before leaving to simmer away for 10 minutes. Add the sugar, rosemary and the leaves off the thyme sprigs plus a bit of salt then simmer the pan until the water evaporates and you have some fit caramelised garlic cloves.

Now put the tart together. Break the goat's cheese up with your hands and dot bits of it all over the pastry case.

Next add the caramelised garlic cloves to the tart base.

Next, take a jug and whisk the eggs, cream and creme fraiche with a bit of salt and pepper. Pour this into the tart case. Reduce the oven temperature to gas mark 3 / 160 degrees C and bake for 45 minutes, until the filling has set and the top is golden and lovely.

Decorate the tart with some lovely sprigs of thyme and serve! Thanks Ottolenghi... ♥


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