Thursday, 29 March 2012

Spinach Tart

This is yet another interpretation of spinach and cheese pie. Spinach and cheese are a winning combination and who am I to argue with the pie making Gods. This one is a bit more quiche-like. It's really easy to put together and if the thought of making pastry freaks you out, don't worry, the food processor does most of the work for this one. We ate it with a tomato salad for a quick after-football training meal and the rest got eaten (very happily) out of lunch boxes the next day. I imagine it would be equally as good eaten for lunch outside in the garden with some friends and a bottle of bubbles.

Spinach Tart
from Annabel Langbein's Free Range in the City
Makes 2 x 26cm Tarts

For the Filling:
250g cream cheese
6 eggs
1 cup cream
2 tablespoons  pesto
2 spring onions, chopped
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
1 cup grated cheddar cheese,
4-6 heads fresh spinach (use as much or as little as you like)
salt and ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
For the Pastry:
2 cups plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
150g butter or 75g butter and 75g lard
About 4 tbsp cold water

Preheat oven to 200degrees C (fan forced) and line two 26cm loose-bottomed tart tins with baking paper.

To make the pastry, place the flour, salt and butter, or butter and lard in a food processor and whizz to fine crumbs. With the motor running, add the water a little at a time, adding more if necessary until mixture comes together in a ball.

Roll the pastry out between two sheets of baking paper until they are large enough to cover the base and sides of the tins. The pastry will be very thin. To make handling the pastry easier, peel one of the sheets of paper off  the one side of the pastry. Put the pastry, paper-side up, into the tin and make sure the pastry lines the base and side of the tins. Leave the paper on top of the pastry and weight with baking beans or rice and bake blind until lightly golden (about 12-15 minutes).

While pastry cooks, prepare the filling. blend together the cream cheese, eggs and cream. Add pesto, spring onions, horseradish, cheese, spinach, salt, pepper and nutmeg, blending until the mixture forms a smooth, green puree.

Remove pastry shells from oven and lift off baking paper and baking beans.

Reduce oven heat to 180 degrees C. Pour the filling mixture into the semi-cooked pastry shells and bake for about 30 minutes until it is set in the centre and lightly golden. Serve warm or hot.

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