Rainbow chard and cottage cheese tart

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Tonight’s dinner, Rainbow chard and cottage cheese tart, recipe adapted from River Cottage Veg book by Hugh FW. It was absolutely delicious and I am overjoyed that it turned out edible at all following a small disaster. I dropped the rim of the pastry case while blind baking. Oh dear. For a fleeting moment, I thought of making another batch of pastry from scratch. Then I thought better, patched it up as best as I could and finished blind baking, fingers crossed. Turned out pretty marvellous as a matter of fact. Here’s the recipe:

Sift 250g plain flour and a pinch of sea salt into a bowl, add 125g cold butter cut into small pieces, rubbing the butter into flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Slowly add 50-75ml milk, combining all the ingredients with your hands until smooth (Hugh said 75ml, I only used about 50 for a lovely short pastry). Knead briefly, then chill for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 180 degrees, then roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface and line the tart case – leave the extra bits of pastry where they are at this stage, trim after blind baking as the pastry will shrink and the filling does come up to the top. Bake blind with baking beads/ beans for 15 minutes, then take out the beans/ beads, prick the pastry with a fork and bake for another 13-15 minutes.

Hugh’s recipe called for 300g chard and I got a bit overenthusiastic at the greengrocers’ earlier this afternoon, getting a bunch of yellow, another of red and a third of just plain chard. That came to around 400g and I used it all. For the filling, heat a tablespoon of rapeseed oil, sweat a large onion, sliced, with a sprinkling of thyme for 10 minutes. Add chopped chard stalks and a finely chopped clove of garlic, sweat for another 10 minutes to soften the stalks, then add shredded leaves until wilted, about 5 minutes later. Season with salt and pepper. Leave to cool a little then arrange on top of pastry.

In a bowl, lightly beat 2 eggs and 2 egg yolks, add 200ml double cream, then a 300g tub of cottage cheese, season with salt and pepper then pour over the chard and bake for 35 minutes. Hugh’s recipe had 100g ricotta and 200ml milk but I didn’t fancy a trip to the supermarket for ricotta when I had a tub of cottage cheese at home. I thought it would also add texture tart and obviously, after ruining the tart rim, I thought the drier the filling, the better. Some egg and cream mixture did escape but, thankfully the base is dry.

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I couldn’t really trim the top as it had all been patched up but the whole thing looked pretty good considering. This sort of rim slipping never used to happen with the old trusty cheap tart case. Being cheap, it rusted so I replaced it with a fancy non-stick one last year. Big mistake, it is the most slippery thing ever and I always, always forget to put a baking tray underneath. Don’t think I’ll forget to do that again…

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