I'd like it to be summer already, drinking wine on the Jesmond terrace, warm outdoor bbq's, salads and sunshine. I've been looking through Ottolenghi's book Plenty. It has so many interesting and tasty salad's, but it's still quite cold and wintery here, so I decided on the Caramelised garlic tart. They also describe it as 'the most delicious recipe in the world' so I guess you have to try it...
I haven't made nearly enough from the book yet, but plan on trying loads of the salads as soon as it gets a bit nicer. Looking out the window now Jesmond just looks cold, grey and a bit misty. I think puff pastry, cheese and lots of garlic are in order.
You have to use three whole heads of garlic, over 30 cloves, so it might not be for everyone! But I thought it smelt and tasted amazing.
375g all butter puff pastry
3 heads of garlic, cloves separated and peeled
1 tbsp olive oil
1tsp balsamic vinegar
¾ tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp chopped rosemary
1 tsp chopped thyme
120g soft creamy goat's cheese
120g hard mature goat's cheese
2 free range eggs
100ml double cream
100ml crème fraiche
salt and black pepper
You need a tart tin. I didn't have one, so my pastry went a bit crazy, but still tasted good. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface and line the tin with it, allow a bit extra as it will move around and shrink. Place a piece of greaseproof paper over the pastry and fill up with baking beans. I used dried chickpeas, anything like that will do, it's to stop the pastry rising up as it cooks. Put it in the fridge to settle for 20 minutes.
Heat the oven to 180°C for 20 minutes. This is where my pastry went a bit like a giant Yorkshire pudding, I don't think it was what was meant to happen but I carried on anyway. Remove the beans and paper and bake for another 5 or 10 minutes until the central pastry is golden. Take it out, but leave the oven on.
While you are baking the pastry you can start to make the caramalised garlic. Separate and peel three whole heads of garlic and put them in a small saucepan with plenty of water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 3 minutes. Drain the garlic and return to the dried pan with the oil and fry on a high ish heat for 2 minutes. Add the water and the balsamic vinegar and bring to the boil, simmer for 10 minutes. It smells pretty amazing at this point, like a mellow sweet garlic, not overpowering, just delicious.
Then add the sugar, rosemary, thyme and ¼ teaspoon of salt and simmer for another 10 minutes, until the liquid has evaporated and the garlic is in a caramelly syrup. It now smells even better...
Break both cheeses into little pieces and scatter in the baked pastry case. Spoon the garlic over the top of the cheese, spreading things out evenly. Then whisk together the eggs, cream, crème fraiche, ½ teaspoon of salt and some black pepper. Pour this custard mixture over the top of the garlic and cheese.
Turn the oven down to 160°C and put the tart in the oven. Bake for 35-45 minutes until golden. Serve it warm, you can reheat it as needed and it is just as good. I think the claim of the most delicious recipe ever is not actually that far off, I'd definitely put in my top ten... Serve with a green salad, or try a bit straight away...
The 'Plenty' book is all vegetable recipes, but doesn’t lack anything by not having any meat in it. I'm just watching the news telling me to eat less of it anyway. If you don't know the Ottolenghi books and eateries you should definitely have a look. They have a few shops and cafés in London with towers of colourful salads and huge piles of meringues, cakes and tarts filling up their windows.