Rustic winter tart

30th November 2022Samantha Mattocks
rustic vegetarian winter tart

I cannot help it – I love the flavours of winter and each year, I seem to find myself on a countdown to the first Brussels sprouts of the season while wondering just how early I can get away with using chestnuts in my cooking. I have a real passion for earthy flavours, and this rustic winter tart really hits the spot. It is full of my favourite flavours of winter – Brussels sprouts, chestnuts, and blue cheese. For me, this is the perfect combination, especially when encased in a herby shortcrust pastry case. My winter tart recipe is the perfect way to use up your Christmas leftovers, as well as making a delicious main for vegetarian guests.

Note: I have again used Old Hall Farm raw Jersey milk and cream in this rustic winter tart – not only is it fab, but it is naturally A2, too, meaning that delicate lactose-intolerant people such as myself can enjoy this dish.

For the pastry
250g plain flour
125g butter, diced and kept cold
Pinch of sea salt
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
2-4 tbsp water
1 egg, beaten

For the filling
1 tbsp Yare Valley Rapeseed Oil
1 leek, finely sliced
200g Brussels sprouts, peeled and finely sliced
150g cooked chestnuts, roughly chopped
½ tbsp dried herbs
3 large eggs
200ml Old Hall Farm raw Jersey milk
200ml Old Hall Farm raw Jersey cream
Freshly ground nutmeg
80g Binham Blue cheese, diced
Salt & black pepper

First, make the pastry by putting the flour and butter into a bowl and mixing together with your fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the salt and thyme leaves and mix together. Add the water, a tablespoon at a time, bringing the mixture together until it comes into a ball. Wrap the pastry in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Take a shallow 21cm loose bottomed tart tin and grease/flour it. Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out on a floured surface and then line the tin with the herby pastry. Return to the fridge for another 30 minutes.

When you are ready, pre-heat the oven to 180˚C/gas mark 4. Line the pastry shell with baking paper and fill with baking beans. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the paper and beans. Brush the case with the beaten egg and return to the over for another 10 minutes, until the shell is lightly golden.

While the shell is cooking, prepare your filling: heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat and add the leeks. Cook the leeks until they begin to caramelise, then add the sprouts and cook for a few minutes. Then add the chestnuts, dried herbs, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a bowl, whisk together the milk, cream and eggs together, then season with pepper and add some grated nutmeg. Do not add salt as the blue cheese will naturally add salt.

When the pastry shell is cooked, reduce the temperature to 160˚C/gas mark 3. Spoon in the sprout and chestnut mixture, top with the blue cheese, and then pour in the cream and milk mixture until just full.

Put into the oven for 40-50 minutes or until the liquid has set and the vegetables are cooked. Remove from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes, then serve your rustic winter tart with potatoes and salad.

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