Friday, 18 September 2015

Torta de queijo caprino com avelãs torradas, A matéria de que são feitos os sonhos...

                          
I'm sure you´ve all had your fair share of dreadful savoury tarts. Anybody who lived through the 1970s and 1980s will have had the misfortune of enduring stodgy quiches with soggy bottoms and dense custard fillings. Maybe a quiche Lorraine eaten in Lorraine is a dish to celebrate, but growing up not in France but across the channel, the only Lorraine I remember was on the telly, my almost contemporary Lorraine Chase.
But for those Britons who managed to travel and sample culture overseas they at least were able to to ensure others shared some of their experiences,if only second hand, on their return.They bought cookbooks by Elizabeth David like French provincial cooking and prided themselves in cooking Mediterranean dishes such as quiche lorraine for their terribly middle class dinner parties.The proliferation of French and mediterranean restaurants in the country´s high streets also catered for increasingly adventurous metropolitan tastes.These were the days of bistrots,tavernas and trattorias and dining out on expense accounts-how exciting was that?
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
150ml milk
50g hazelnut kernels,toasted,skinned and chopped
grated nutmeg

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.

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