Spinach Tart

This tart is my childhood in a dish, it is also the ultimate show stopping spinach and cheese pie. My mum used to make this on most special occasions and she is still well known for it. The other day I was reminded of this stunner when speaking to her, so I made it as a tribute to some of my most precious memories. Nestling inside a crisp puff pastry shell, the filling is a pillowy mixture of spinach and three cheeses in a bechamel sauce enriched with eggs. The key is to bake it in a hot oven so the base is well cooked and crisp too. You can adjust the amounts of feta and cheddar if you prefer something richer, but the quantities below produce a pretty perfect pie. It is best served hot and goes beautifully with a selection of salads.

Recipe (adapted from Myrna Rosen

500g puff pastry
500g frozen spinach
100g feta cheese, crumbled
250g cottage cheese
100g strong cheddar, grated
250ml double cream
250ml milk
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
half and onion, grated
salt and black pepper

Preheat oven to 225C. Roll out puff pastry to about 5mm thick and use about 300g to line a 25cm deep fluted tin or pie dish. Return to the fridge until needed. Keep the rest of the rolled pastry aside under a damp cloth to stop it from drying out. Defrost spinach by heating it on the stove and cool down rapidly in ice cold water. Remove excess water by squeezing spinach out well and set aside until needed. To make the filling: saute onion in butter until soft in a medium saucepan, add flour and allow to cook until the mixture resembles beach sand. Add milk and cream gradually to make a bechamel sauce, keep whisking to avoid lumps forming. Take off the heat and add eggs very slowly, mixing constantly to avoid scrambling. Return to the heat and allow to thicken. Turn off heat, add all the cheeses and the spinach, mix together well and then season to taste. Check the salt carefully as the cheese will also provide much of the salt. Spoon into the pastry shell and spread evenly. Cut the remaining pastry into strips about an inch wide. Create a lattice over the filling using the pastry strips. Brush with egg yolk. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until golden and puffy. Serve hot. 

No comments: