The old puritan functionalist approach approach of scampi in a basket, fish and chips and meat and potatoes were giving way to a new theatricality. Food was becoming entertainment.This was also the prawn cocktail era.TV cookery shows with culinary celebrities, Fanny Cradock, Robert Carrier and Keith Floyd encouraged a new style of home cooking and entertaining.What would we have done without the quiche Lorraine? A classic French dish, which I think it would be fair to say helped revolutionise British food, although these days it seems to have been overtaken by a plethora of other quiches containing all sorts of nonsensical ingredients.So I thought I would embark on a trip down retro lane
There is something about baking a pastry case and filling it with something delicious that appeals to me perhaps more than making a cake or a tray of brownies. From the moment you push the dough into the tin with your floury fingers to the quiver of the custard as you proudly take your handiwork from the oven. This is the sort of cooking you always promise yourself you will do more of, because it turns making supper into a recreational therapy rather than work.
You must carry your laden tin oh-so-carefully to the oven, watching the custard ebb and flow perilously toward the rim,trying your very best not to lose concentration at the last minute, causing your egg and cream custard to dribble and burn on the hot oven door.My choice of tart to revive the quiche era was the sort of recipe dreams are made of, a goats cheese tart with roasted hazelnuts.The secret to a good quiche or tart is in its texture and and in this case it was sublime.Roasting hazelnuts increases their flavour and improves their crunchy buttery texture.My thinking here was to provide a complete contrast in textures and flavour. The hazelnut's flavour has an advantage over other nuts because of its ability to stand up in recipes with many high-taste ingredients, in this case the piquant flavour of the cheese, cream and eggs.
Warm goats cheese and hazelnut tart
Butter for greasing
220g good shortcrust pastry
220g soft goats cheese such as caprino or chevre
6 free-range eggs plus 3 yolks
300ml double cream
50g hazelnut kernels,toasted,skinned and chopped
Dressed salad leaves to serve
Grease a25cm-diameter,deep sided,flan tin and roll out the pastry very thinly to line it.Chill for at least 30 minutes and preheat the oven to 180C /350F /gas 4.
Bake the tart shell blind for 15 minutes then take out and remove the blind,leaving the oven on.Allow the pastry case to cool completely.
in aprocessor, blend together the cheese and eggs plus extra yolks,then blend in the cream and milk.Season with salt pepper and a grating of nutmeg.Pour carefully into the pastry shell.bake for 30 minutes,then check that the surface is not browning too
quickly.Cover with foil if it is.Continue to bake until the pastry is golden and the filling is just set in the centre.Sprinkle with the chopped nuts and serve the tart warm with dressed salad leaves.