This is the recipe for the tart I made as the starter for the #twishparty evening last Friday.
I was originally inspired to make this recipe after having a taste of the mini quiches Mags from Goatsbridge Trout had on her stand at the Bloom Festival. Hers contained smoked trout, leeks and Knockdinna Cheese. They were little bites of heaven. So when I had some of her smoked trout sitting in the fridge along with some leeks and the end of a piece of aged gouda, I knew I had to give it a go. The resulting tart was delicious!
When I heard Mags was judging the seafood cookalong I knew I had to have another go at the tart to serve as a starter. Unfortunately, I was foiled in my plan to influence the judge by not being able to get any smoked trout from my nearest supplier, Donnybrook Fair. Instead I decided to go with the hot smoked salmon from The Burren Smokehouse as it has a similar texture to that of the trout.
The resulting tart was just as delicious as the original and was described by my friend Shelly, who was helping out with the cooking and eating, as a "foodgasm". Hopefully, you'll think so too.
Preheat the oven to 170°C.
Make the pastry as described in this recipe. Alternatively you can use a sheet of ready made short crust pastry.
While the pastry is chilling in the fridge, clean the leeks and cut up into 1cm pieces. Melt a little butter in the frying pan and add the leeks. Cook over a low heat until they have become soft and silky.
Leave the leeks to one side to cool, while your prepare the pastry case. Grease the tart tin well and remove the pastry from the fridge, and place on a well floured board or worktop.
Roll out the pastry so that it will cover the whole tart dish with a bit of overhang. Carefully roll the pastry up onto a well floured rolling pin and gently unroll over the dish.
Gently push the pastry down into the dish and ensure that all parts are covered. Prick the base and sides all over with a fork. This will ensure that any trapped air will escape during the baking.
Cut out a sheet of baking parchment, large enough to cover the tart dish. Place over the pastry and fill the centre of the dish with clay baking beans, or you can use dried rice, lentils or marrowfat peas. These help to keep the pastry case from bubbling up while you blind bake it. Blind baking will prevent the pastry from becoming soggy when we add the filling, and beacuse the filling has a shorter cooking time than that of the pastry. Put the pastry case into the oven and bake for 15 - 20 mins.
While the pastry case is baking, prepare the rest of the ingredients for the filling. Grate the cheese and put to one side. Break the salmon into pieces, I found this easier to do by hand rather than with a knife.
Break the eggs into a bowl, add the cream and beat well.
Season with salt and pepper. Add thyme (if using) and beat again.
At this point the pastry case should be about ready to come out of the oven. It should be a very pale golden colour. Remove the parchment paper and baking beans. Add the leeks to the pastry case and spread evenly over the base.
Nice it's time to start layering in the other ingredients.
Spread half the hot smoked salmon over the leeks then sprinkle over half the gouda.
Next, layer on the remaining salmon. Reserve a handful of the cheese, then spread the remainder over the top of the other fillings.
Carefully pour in the egg and cream mixture. Pat down any floating filling ingredients so that they become coated with the egg mixture.
Sprinkle your reserved handful of cheese over the top of the tart. Next, carefully cut off the excess pastry from the edge of the tart. Try not to take too much off, or you might spring a leak!
Take a moment to admire your handiwork, before transferring the tart into the oven for 30 mins.
After 30 mins the filling of the tart should be firm to the touch and have turned a golden brown colour. If it still seems either a little runny or pale, return to the oven and check at 5 min intervals. Allow the tart to cool a little. Enjoy a slice on it's own or served with a salad.