Six weeks have passed since I first heard the name Yotam Ottolenghi in my dream, and it has taken me this long to muster the courage to attempt my first recipe from his cookbook, Plenty, with minor adjustments.
My first impression after reading the recipes on The Guardian website is that they seem way too complicated and complex for a run of the mill meal. I was curious to know how long it would actually take to prepare and bake this caramelised garlic tart, and whether the flavor profiles would live up to the ‘I think this is the most delicious recipe in the world!’ quoted on the Ottolenghi website.
My first observation was that the recipe mentioned 40 cloves of garlic, and this would add significantly to the preparation time. Fortunately, I bought fresh cleaned and sterilized garlic. If you cannot find that, then separate the cloves and place in a bowl of room temperature water for 20 minutes or so. This will soften the skins and they can be rubbed off easily.
I first served this to colleagues at work and they thought it was wonderful. I repeated it for a brunch at my home for cousins and aunts, and it was lauded as the most delicious quiche they have ever tasted.
Everyone seems surprised that so much garlic tastes so good. Blanching the garlic tempered much of the harsh garlic flavor, leaving it mellow and mild when caramelized and combined with the rosemary and thyme, further enhancing the flavors.
Although the recipe seems to have many steps it is very methodical and the end result justifies the extra time spent on the garlic process.
Caramelised garlic tart with goat's cheese
- 215 g all-butter puff pastry (1 ready rolled sheet)
- 40 cloves garlic (3 heads, cleaned and peeled)
- 15 ml olive oil (approximately 1 tablespoon)
- 5 ml balsamic vinegar (approximately 1 teaspoon)
- 220 ml water (approximately 5/6 cup)
- ¾ tbsp caster sugar
- 5 ml chopped rosemary (approximately 1 teaspoon)
- 5 ml chopped thyme (approximately 1 teaspoon)
- 120 g soft goat’s cheese
- 120 g semi-hard goat’s cheese
- 3 eggs
- 100 ml double cream (approximately 2/5 cup)
- 200 ml crème fraîche (approximately 4/5 cup)
- 3/4 tsp salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- a few whole thyme sprigs to finish
- Heat the oven to 200 degrees celcius/ 180 celcius with fan / 400 F / Gas mark 6.
- Roll out the pastry and line a 25 cm tart pan ensuring that the pastry overlaps the sides a bit as it may shrink during baking if not rested enough. I chilled it again for another 10 minutes before baking.
- Line the base with parchment paper and baking beans or beans, and bake blind for about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Remove the baking beans and bake for another 5-7 minutes, then remove from the oven and leave to cool.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 160 degrees celcius/ 140 celcius with fan / 320 F / Gas mark 3.
- Place the garlic in a high sided pot or saucepan and cover with water.
- Bring to the boil for 3 minutes, then pour off the water and decant the garlic cloves into a small bowl and dry the pot.
- Add the olive oil when the pot is hot, then add the garlic to the oil. This is where a high sided cooking utensil is a lifesaver, as the garlic hitting the hot oil will splutter like crazy, so stand clear.
- Saute the garlic on high heat for two minutes then add the balsamic vinegar and water.
- Reduce the heat and simmer for a further 10 minutes.
- Add the sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt, rosemary and thyme and cook until the liquid has reduced and become sticky. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
- Grate the semi-hard cheese and scatter in the bottom of the pastry case.
- Cut or break up the soft cheese and scatter over the grated cheese.
- Add the garlic cloves and syrup over the cheeses.
- Lightly whisk the eggs, cream and creme fraiche and adjust seasoning to taste with the rest of the salt and black pepper. You may require less salt, if the cheese is salty.
- Pour the eggs over the garlic and cheese in the pastry case, leaving the garlic visible.
- Bake for 35 - 45 minutes until set.
Nutritional information for the recipe is an approximation and varies according to the ingredients and products used.
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