Miracle Christmas Brunch

I have a group of girlfriends who meet on a semi-regular basis – sort of our interpretation of SATC-style debriefing sessions. What I love about this group of ladies is that they are -every single one of them – foodies! We will travel around Sydney for a good brunch – though its probably more technically ‘Brunchner’ (i.e breakfast, lunch and dinner combined) as we can talk and eat for hours and have been known to restaurant hop.

For our most recent gathering we ditched the restaurants and went for a bring-a-plate Christmas party  (it has been known to happen… one year it was a Iron Chef ‘citrus challenge’ which was a whole heap of fun – ladies we should do something like that again). I decided to use a recipe from my new Ottolenghi cookbook “Plenty“. You may recall that I recently visited the London insitution and was quite taken by it… As I thumbed through the vegetarian cookbook the recipe for a “Caramelised Garlic Tart” jumped out at me, begging to be made! All I needed was an excuse 🙂

It was (unsurprisingly) delicious – smooth and very tasty. A fabulous balance of flavours – and who doesn’t like caramelised garlic? However, if you are not a goats cheese fan this may not be your cup of tea. The best part is that the recipe is easy to make (well I thought so)!

Ottolenghi’s Caramelised Garlic Tart

375g all-butter puff pastry (I ended up using 2 sheets of Pampas ready rolled puff pastry)
3 medium heads of garlic, cloves separated and peeled
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 cup/ water
¾ tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp chopped rosemary
1 tsp chopped thyme, plus a few whole sprigs to finish
120g soft, creamy goat’s cheese (e.g. Chèvre)
120g hard, mature goat’s cheese (e.g. Midnight Moon)
2  eggs
½ cup double cream
½ cup crème fraîche
salt and black pepper

Have ready a shallow, loose-bottomed, 28cm fluted tart tin. Roll out the puff pastry into a circle that will line the bottom and sides of the tin, plus a little extra. Line the tin with the pastry. Place a large circle of greaseproof paper on the bottom and fill up with baking beans. Leave to rest in the fridge for about 20 minutes. [Note: as I was feeling lazy I didn’t bother with baking paper…]

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the tart case in the oven and bake blind for 20 minutes. Remove the beans and paper, then bake for a further 5-10 minutes, or until the pastry is golden. Set aside. Leave the oven on.

While the tart case is baking, make the caramelized garlic. Put the cloves in a small saucepan and cover with plenty of water. Bring to a simmer and blanch for 3 minutes, then drain well.

Dry the saucepan, return the cloves to it and add the olive oil. Fry the garlic cloves on a high heat for 2 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and water and bring to the boil, then simmer gently for 10 minutes.

Add the sugar, rosemary, chopped thyme and ¼ teaspoon salt. Continue simmering on a medium flame for 10 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated and the garlic cloves are coated in a dark caramel syrup. Set aside.

To assemble the tart, break both types of goat’s cheese into pieces and scatter in the pastry case. Spoon the garlic cloves and syrup evenly over the cheese.

In a jug whisk together the eggs, creams, ½ teaspoon salt and some black pepper. Pour this custard over the tart filling to fill the gaps, making sure that you can still see the garlic and cheese over the surface.

Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C and place the tart inside. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the tart filling has set and the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool a little.

Then take out of tin, trim the pastry edge if needed, lay a few sprigs of thyme on top and serve warm.

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3 Responses to Miracle Christmas Brunch

  1. I have just harvested some garlic so this dish will be perfect to showcase it! Looks so lovely. Your’e friends are very lucky to have you make this for them!

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