Swiss chard, bacon and Gruyère tart
- April 2015
- Serves 6-8
- Hands-on time 1 hour, oven time 55 min, plus chilling and cooling
Try this easier-than-it-looks tart recipe for dinner then save the leftovers for lunch the next day.
- 29.2g (16.4g saturated)
- 20.2g (3g sugars)
For 8 servings
For the pastry
- 180g plain flour, plus extra to dust
- 90g cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 4-6 tbsp cold water (see tips)
For the filling
- 40g unsalted butter
- 200g banana shallots, thinly sliced
- 3 fresh thyme sprigs
- 200g British free-range smoked bacon lardons
- 3 medium free-range eggs
- 200ml whole milk
- 80ml double cream
- 100g swiss chard, roughly chopped
- 60g gruyère cheese, grated
You’ll also need
- 23cm x 5cm deep loose-bottomed fluted tart tin
- To make the pastry, whizz the flour, butter cubes and a pinch of salt in a food processor until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the water, 1-2 tbsp at a time, and pulse until the mixture comes together to form a dough. Shape into a disc, wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes (see tips and make ahead).
- Meanwhile, melt the 40g butter in a large frying pan, then fry the shallots and thyme over a low-medium heat for 15 minutes. Turn up the heat, then add the bacon and fry for around 15 minutes or until it has a little colour. Set aside.
- Whisk together the eggs, milk and double cream in a jug, then season with salt and black pepper. Boil a kettle and put the swiss chard in a colander, then pour over the boiling water. Allow to cool a little, then squeeze out the excess water. Stir the chard through the bacon and onion mixture.
- Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to the thickness of a £1 coin. Hold the tart tin over the top to see if the pastry is big enough to line the base and sides. If not, roll a bit more. Once you’re happy with the size, carefully roll the pastry up onto the rolling pin, then unroll over the top of the tart tin. Ease the pastry into the tin, being careful not to tear it.
- Tear off a bit of the overhanging pastry and squeeze it into a small ball. Dip it lightly in flour, then use it to press the pastry into the edges of the tin, re-dusting the ball in flour if it starts to stick. If the pastry tears, patch up the hole with a little of the excess pastry.
- When the tart tin is lined, roll the rolling pin over the top to cut off the overhanging pastry. Chill the tart in the fridge or freezer until firm. Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6.
- Line the chilled case with baking paper or foil, then fill to the top with baking beans. Bake on the middle oven shelf for 15 minutes, remove the baking beans and paper/foil, then return to the oven for a further 5-8 minutes or until the pastry feels sandy to the touch. Take the case out of the oven and turn the heat down to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4.
- Spoon the bacon filling evenly into the case, then pour over the egg mix and sprinkle with the cheese. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the filling is set (see tips). Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then cool on a wire rack until just warm or at room temperature. Serve with salad.
To make a rich shortcrust pastry, reduce the amount of water to 2-3 tbsp and add a medium free-range egg yolk to bring the pastry together. If you want to save time and buy ready-made pastry, choose all-butter shortcrust.
Don’t over-handle pastry. If you knead the dough too much it will develop the gluten in the flour and make the pastry tough.
Give it time to chill. Resting the pastry will relax the gluten and chill the butter, helping to prevent the pastry from shrinking during baking.
Keep the heat moderate. Egg-based fillings can scramble when cooked at too high a temperature. Bake the tart in a moderate oven (temperature as in recipe) and take it out when it has set at the edges but still has a slight wobble in the middle. It will firm up as it cools.
Make the pastry up to 3 days in advance and keep in the fridge, wrapped in cling film. Or freeze, well wrapped and in an airtight container, for 1 month. Defrost and continue from step 2. The finished tart is best eaten on the day it’s made, but leftovers can be chilled overnight.
Chill a bright, crisp French sauvignon blanc.
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