Chard, Garlic and Sorrel Tart

Lawks, I love a tart! (Insert Carry On joke here).

Did they ever make Carry On Cooking? I think not. Shame – the double entendre capacity of cooking is immense. Cream puffs and toasted nuts. I saw on the internet the other day a list of saucy Bake Off sayings. I don’t know if Mary Berry really did actually say the words ‘moist crack’ on the TV, but it’s hilarious (if you’re British and have a childish mind) to imagine that she did. 

This is not a comedy tart, it doesn’t raise an eyebrow and say ‘oo madame’ like more showy-off tarts, but it has an immensely satisfying small list of ingredients that meld themselves into a remarkably fine tasting tart. I make mine quite thin, but you can increase the filling or decrease the size of the tin to make it deeper if you want.

A word on sorrel: I don’t think I’ve ever seen it in the shops. Which is a shame as it’s every bit as useful as rocket. The very lemony sharp flavour of the leaves is really useful. If you’ve got a garden and you like growing herbs for cooking, get a sorrel plant or throw some seeds on the ground and it grows like a weed and comes back every year. There are different kinds, a heart-shaped small one (buccleuch, pronounced ‘buckler’) that creeps rather like ivy in cracks in walls or between plants in the ground, and a large-leafed kind that looks very like spinach and is called broad-leaved sorrel. Either will do and will return each spring without you having to do anything.

OR, if the more likely scenario is in play, which is that you don’t have any sorrel, I suggest you zest half a small lemon and put that in instead. Or of course you can always add a tablespoon of herbs you particularly like, such as tarragon, or chervil, or even just chives. pastry-casePastry:

  • 4 oz /120g plain flour
  • 2½ oz /70g very cold butter
  • pinch salt
  • 1½ tbsp very cold water

With the above ingredients you need to make a 10 inch pastry case and bake it blind. All the instructions are here. This can be made well in advance if you want.

Filling Ingredients:

  • 140-150g raw chard, white or rainbow, doesn’t matter
  • 8 0r 10 large-leafed sorrel leaves OR the grated zest of half a lemon
  • a whole head of garlic, unpeeled.
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg yolks (freeze the whites in tupperware for baking friands or potato pancakes another day
  • 200 ml double cream
  • a pinch of turmeric powder
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 200º or 190º fan, and if you have a spare baking tray, put it in to heat up as well.

Roast the whole garlic in a loose parcel of tin foil, having drizzled on a small amount of olive oil (if you have it) at 200º for at least half an hour. If you’re clever you can put it in along with the pastry case, thereby saving energy and making you feel smug. I’ve also, in a panic when I’ve not done this early enough, fried the individual cloves (still with skin on) in a bit of oil and butter on a not-too-high heat, and they soften the same as in the oven.

Wash the chard and without drying it, chuck it in a pan and wilt it down over a medium heat for about 5-10 mins until it’s soft but not disintegrated or mushy. Squeeze out the excess water. While it’s still warm, stir in the chopped sorrel, it won’t need any more cooking than this. Roughly chop the lot.

When the cloves are soft enough, squeeze the innards out, discarding the skins, and dot the garlic around the base of the cooked pastry case. If you want you can squash them a bit with a fork and spread it around like jam, and here’s a good tip: if you have a bit of a hole in your pastry anywhere, you can use the garlic to bung it up. You don’t want your liquid filling to leak out.

Beat the egg and egg yolks and mix into the cream. Salt and pepper it very well, add the turmeric and stir in the chopped chard and sorrel. Pour into the case, bake for 25 mins. Cooking it on the pre-heated baking tray helps offer some bottom heat and help prevent the Bake Off Soggy Bottom. If after 25 mins it seems too runny right in the centre, cook it a bit more. 

Like most savoury tarts it’s really good cold the next day with a bit of salad and mustard.WINGS


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