My Favourite Bacon, Spinach and Stilton Tart
I love pastry! I can't get away from the fact, it may be terribly unhealthy but it is oh so tasty! Oh and blue cheese, I can't live without blue cheese!! As you know, I believe that a little of what you fancy does you good, and everything in moderation. This isn't an everyday recipe, but something that I often make at weekends if we are having friends over for lunch. We used to love hosting dinner parties but since Little Whisk came along our schedule has changed somewhat, and long lunches with friends have become more of the norm. I love recipes that can be prepared ahead and shoved in the oven at the last minute, whilst I chat and enjoy a glass of bubbles with our guests.
I used to insist on making my pastry by hand as I was convinced that it ended up much shorter and more crumbly, but recently, for the sake of saving time, I have started to make it in the food processor and you know what, it actually turns out just as good!
The measurements below are based on quite a big 30cm flan tin and the recipe will comfortably feed 6 people.
400g Plain flour
200g Salted butter
50g Grated parmesan
Approx. 100ml cold water
1 Beaten egg
12 Rashers of streaky bacon (or equivalent amount of cubed pancetta)
1 Large onion
2 Cloves of garlic crushed
1 x 250g Bag of spinach
4 Tbsp Creme fraiche
First make the pastry. If making by hand then rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, mix in the grated cheese and season with salt and pepper. Bind with enough cold water to bring the mixture together but not leave it wet or sticky.
If making the pastry with a food processor then whizz the butter and flour until well combined and breadcrumb consistency. Add the grated cheese and whizz very briefly. Then add the water very gradually whilst the food processor is going on the lowest setting. Add just enough water for the mixture to come together in a ball, and it will be able to be removed cleanly from the food processor in one lump.
Wrap the ball of pastry in cling film and chill for 10 minutes. Once chilled, roll out until 2-3mm thick and line your flan dish. Prick all over with a fork, then wrap the entire flan dish in a tea towel and place in the freezer for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade and blind bake the pastry for 10 - 15 minutes until starting to turn golden brown. Remove the baking beads, brush with the beaten egg and cook for another 10 minutes until the pastry case is cooked but not too dark brown.
Remove the pastry case from the oven and whilst it is cooling you can make the filling. Chop the bacon into cubes and fry in a dry frying pan until cooked and the fat is starting to crisp up. Add the onion and garlic and fry for a further 10 minutes until the onion has softened. Then add the spinach and cook for a further couple of minutes until it has wilted. Remove from the heat and spoon into your pastry case. If there is quite a lot of liquid then use a slotted spoon to lift the mixture out of the pan, leaving the excess liquid behind. Crumble the stilton over the bacon and spinach mixture.
Then beat the 4 eggs and whisk in the 4 tbsp of creme fraiche. Season with a little salt and pepper and pour over the bacon, spinach and stilton filling. Bake in the centre of the oven for 20-30 minutes until the filling is set and golden brown on top. Serve warm with a rocket salad.