Thursday, 7 August 2014

Double Cheese and Onion Soufflé Tart

This soufflé tart filling was a revelation! Good-bye soggy bottoms, farewell rubbery egg custard! I know that it is possible to make perfect pastry, blind bake to the exact point needed, get the custard into the case without spilling any, not have any cracks in the pastry for the custard to leak through, get the dish into the oven without any custard overflowing and get the exact set needed for the filling to be creamy rather than rubbery (and not soak into the pastry to give the dreaded soggy bottom) - but how often do they all come together to produce the perfect quiche?

I found the recipe on the Good Food website, and even though I've never made a soufflé, I found the idea of a soufflé filling for a savoury tart quite intriguing. In practice it was even better than I imagined - because the filling was quite solid (like a stiff meringue mix rather than cream), there was no liquid to soak into the pastry, or find the smallest crack to leak through. The pastry case could be filled to the brim without fear of overflow and the filling baked to a light springy texture, rather like a good baked cheesecake. The pastry case also released off the base  of the tin like a dream - something that has never happened when I make a quiche - and it stayed crisp for the three days it took to finish eating the tart.

Although I followed the recipe for the filling exactly, I made my own shortcrust cheese pastry, using 250g SR flour, 125g butter, 50g parmesan cheese and a little cold water. I used the pastry to line a deep 22cm loose-bottomed flan tin, and baked blind following the times and temperature in the recipe. The filling rose above the pastry during baking, and here was the only problem I encountered during making this tart - it was difficult to judge the end point of cooking. To be sure the soufflé was properly cooked, I turned off the oven after the time stated and left the tart in the cooling oven. This worked very well - the filling was cooked all the way through but still moist and creamy in texture. Once cooled, like all soufflés, it fell back to it's original level, but thankfully didn't sink in the middle, which was what I was fearing if it was undercooked.

The flavours in this quiche all worked well together - the sweet yet piquant caramelised onion chutney offset the richness of the soufflé filling, and the crisp pastry was a good contrast to the soft filling. I had picked a mild goat cheese, yet it was still evident that it was goat cheese being used - the flavour wasn't overwhelmed by any of the other ingredients. I'm not sure if this method could be adapted to make tarts with more solid pieces in the filling, such as bacon or vegetables, but  for a straightforward cheese tart this is so much better than a traditional quiche, and not that much more complicated to make.

The tart case only used 2/3 of the pastry, so there was plenty remaining to make some pesto pinwheels with the leftovers - the pastry was rolled to a rectangle, spread with a couple of tablespoons of pesto, rolled up like a swiss roll, chilled, then cut into 2cm slices and baked alongside the pastry case at 200C for about 20 minutes. (See the photo above.)

I'm sending this tart to Tea Time Treats (rules here), a baking challenge hosted jointly by Lavender and Lovage and The Hedge Combers. This month, Karen at Lavender and Lovage has asked us to produce something suitable for a picnic tea, and this tart certainly fits the bill - it would be easy to transport while still in the baking tin, and once cut is sturdy enough to be eaten by hand. It is also very tasty when eaten cold.


Alicia Foodycat said...

That sounds absolutely lovely! I'll have to give it a go.

belleau kitchen said...

That really sounds and looks so divine. You know I love a good quiche! Love how thick the filling is too. Superb!

snowy said...

This looks so tasty and such a great idea. Have always been frightened of soufflés, so will give this a try.

Karen S Booth said...

That sounds and looks totally divine and I LOVE the fact that the filing is soufflé too! Karen

Anne Szadorska said...

I bought a loose bottom flan tin a while back in order to remove the cooked article easier but still have not used it! Your flan looks delicious but I think my tin is too shallow, how typical!

Really like the look of the onion chutney layer too!

Suelle said...

I think you could try this in a shallow tin, Anne. I bought the deeper tin mainly for desserts, but more depth on quiche fillings looks good too.