It's time to share another recipe as part of the Cookbook of the Month feature for September. Yet another tasty recipe from Plenty by Yotam Ottolonghi! Last time it was Green Pancakes with Lime Butter. This time around I have chosen a recipe from the chapter titled 'Funny Onions'. What grabbed me about this recipe was that the tart requires three full heads of garlic - three! Having never used so much garlic in one dish, I was intrigued and decided to put the recipe to the test. It seemed like a lot, but I thought that if it didn't turn out at least I'd be safe from vampires for a while... :P
Caramelised Garlic Tart
375 all-butter puff pastry
3 medium heads of garlic, cloves separated and peeled
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
3/4 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp chopped rosemary
1 tsp chopped thyme, plus a few extra sprigs to finish
120g soft, creamy goat's cheese
120g hard, mature goat's cheese
2 free-range eggs
100ml double cream
100ml creme fraiche
salt and black pepper
1. Have ready a shallow, loose-bottomed, 28cm fluted tart tin. Roll out the puff pastry into a circle that will line the bottom and sides of the tin, plus a little extra. Line the tin with the pastry. Place a large circle of greaseproof paper on the bottom and fill up with baking beans. Leave to rest in the fridge for about 20 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C/Gas Mark 4. Place the tart case in the oven and bake blind for 20 minutes. Remove the beans and paper, then bake for a further 5-10 minutes, or until the pastry is golden. Set aside. Leave the oven on.
3. While the tart case is baking, make the caramelized garlic. Put the cloves in a small saucepan and cover with plenty of water. Bring to a simmer and blanch for 3 minutes, then drain well.
4. Dry the saucepan, return the cloves to it and add the olive oil. Fry the garlic cloves on a high heat for 2 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and water and bring to the boil, then simmer gently for 10 minutes.
5. Add the sugar, rosemary, chopped thyme and ¼ teaspoon salt. Continue simmering on a medium flame for 10 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated and the garlic cloves are coated in a dark caramel syrup. Set aside.
6. To assemble the tart, break both types of goat's cheese into pieces and scatter in the pastry case. Spoon the garlic cloves and syrup evenly over the cheese.
7. In a jug whisk together the eggs, creams, ½ teaspoon salt and some black pepper. Pour this custard over the tart filling to fill the gaps, making sure that you can still see the garlic and cheese over the surface.
8. Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C/Gas Mark 3 and place the tart inside. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the tart filling has set and the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool a little.
9. Then take out of tin, trim the pastry edge if needed, lay a few sprigs of thyme on top and serve warm.
The result was really delicious, and the nuggets of caramelised garlic were wonderful... soft and sweet, contrasting well with the saltiness of the goat's cheese. Along with the herbs, overall this tart was well balanced - not pungent or garlic-stinky. The vampires, it would seem, live to die another day...
The puff pastry (I cheated and used readymade pastry) was crunchy on the outside, but went a little soggy underneath. Next time I would probably take the blind baking a little further to get around this. But oh my, what splendid use of garlic! Mr Ottelenghi, I think I'm in love (with your book!)