A mixture of spinach, goats cheese and saffron infused cream creates a light and exquisite tart. These tarts make a great starter for a dinner party or a light main any time.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
3 tbsp butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp thyme, finely chopped
500g spinach leaves, trimmed and washed
pinch grated nutmeg
200ml double cream
pinch saffron strands
3 tbsp raisins, softened in boiling water for 10 minutes
400g goats cheese (soft)
2 eggs beaten
maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper
150g plain flour
100g wholemeal flour
50g walnuts, finely chopped
Pastry: Place the plain and wholemeal flour in a food processor with the walnuts and butter. Process the mixture until you have a bread crumb like consistency. Add the egg and 50ml milk to the mixture with the motor running. The mixture should come away from the sides and form into a dough consistency. If the dough is to dry add a little more milk or if it is to wet add a little more flour. Bring the dough together and form it into a ball (do not knead it). Wrap the dough in cling film and refrigerate it for at least 1 hour before using. To make the pastry by hand simply rub the flour with the walnuts and butter until you have a bread crumb consistency, make a well in the centre. Beat the egg with the milk and add to the well in the flour mixture. Mix the mixture together with your hands until it forms into a dough and bring together into a ball.
Roll the dough out so that it is around 8mm thick. Line 6 greased individual tart tins with the pastry and place the pastry in the refrigerate for 15 minutes before cooking.
Filling: Melt the butter in a very large saucepan over a moderate heat. Add the onions to the pan and cook them gently for 3-5 minutes until they are soft and translucent. Stir in the thyme and spinach, cook the spinach until it has wilted down, turn it regularly so that the top layers of spinach cook as well. Remove the spinach mixture from the heat and season it with the nutmeg and a little salt and pepper. Set the spinach aside until ready use.
Place the cream in a small saucepan with the saffron. Bring the cream to a simmer then remove it from the heat and leave it to cool and infuse with the saffron.
Whisk together the goats cheese, eggs and cooled cream with the saffron, until it is well combined. Set the mixture aside until ready to use. If preparing it in advance refrigerate it and mix it briefly until ready to use.
To Cook: Preheat an oven to 190°C. Blind bake the pastry weighed down with the dried beans for 10 minutes in the preheated oven. The pastry should be firm but not coloured. Remove the pastry from the oven and allow it to cool slightly.
Place a layer of the spinach mixture on the base of each tart. Scatter the raisins over the spinach. Place the tartlets on a baking tray and carefully distribute the goats cheese and egg mixture among the tarts so that they are 3/4 filled (be careful not to overfill them). Place the tarts on the centre shelf of the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until they are golden, risen and firm to touch. Remove the pastries from the oven and carefully remove the tarts from the tins and serve.
To Serve: Serve the spinach tarts as a starter or light main on their own or with rocket with a little olive oil, balsamic and parmesan shavings or a salad of mixed salad leaves.