A few weeks ago we were lucky to receive a serious amount of free cheese from Ile de France. You’ve most likely seen their brie, goat cheese or St. André (which I could rub all over my body it’s that good) in your supermarket but they have so much more to offer. I only wish my grocery store carried all their cheeses. They also just redid their website and it’s an excellent way to get over 500 cheese recipes or just peruse the various cheeses they offer. After chomping down on the many cheese samples Ile de France mailed us (a vast variety including Chaumes, St. Albray, Goat and Brie) , we had alot left over. We’re kinda cheese fiends and when we’re feeling in the mood to eat cheese, we’ll go to our local shop and go a bit overboard. The cheese drawer will pile up until I can barely close it. This is never a good thing. Weeks later I’ll check out what’s at the bottom of the drawer to find shriveled bits of piave, way over-ripe, acidic smelling camembert or moldy tomme. I’ll often chop off mold or use the shriveled bitsto grate as pasta toppings, but often I’ll say a prayer, shed a tear and throw them into the garbage. It burns a hole in my heart every time!
But this time I just couldn’t see all that cheese go to waste, even if much of it was free. What about all the starving kids in China (Will that one work on my future child? Sure as hell didn’t work on me!)?! So I scratched my head and thought about what I could do. Mac and Cheese? No. Cheese Log? It ain’t Christmas. Mixed Cheese Tart? But I’ll have to use my oven and it’s so damn hot! Ok, let’s to a cheese tart. I am very glad I did and I highly reccommend you doing the same with all your leftover chese bits. Hard cheese, soft cheese, triple creams, stinky cheese – they’ll all go great in a cheese tart. Not to mention you won’t have to worry anymore about the starving kids in China.
For the Pastry:
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/4 sticks of butter, room temperature (I made my pastry by hand)
- 1/2 glass of water, very cold
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the Tart Filling:
- 2 1/2 cups of grated or finely chopped cheese (we used bits and pieces of Goat Cheese with herbs, Chaumes, English Cheddar, Munster d’Alsace and Mimolette)
- 1/4 cup of butter (or 1/2 stick)
- 1 cup of whole milk
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon
- 3 eggs, beaten
- pinch of salt and pinch of freshly ground pepper
- optional: handful of chopped fresh chives
- optional: 8 to 10 tomato slices
What to do:
- Make your pastry by hand or in the food processor, chill for 1 hour then roll out to about 1/4 inch thickness and fit it into an ungreased pie mold or 9-inch springform pan (which is what we used). Blind bake for 12 minutes at 400 degrees.
- Make your filling, starting with melting the butter slowly in a pan then whisking in the flour. Continuing to whisk, add the milk slowly and combine, stirring constantly until the mixture is thick. Take off heat.
- Add the cheese and heavy cream. Whisk. Add the beaten eggs, salt and pepper and chives. Whisk.
- Add your optional tomato slices to the bottom of your blind baked pastry, overlapping in places to try and cover as much of the bottom as necessary. Pour the filling into the pie pan, leaving a bit of room to grow at the top (don’t overfill). You may have more filling than necessary. In fact, we had a bit extra pastry and filling, we ended up making a few small tarts using a muffin tin.
- Optional: beat an egg and brush on the outside crust of the pastry so it won’t burn.
- Put back in the 400 degree oven and bake tart for 45 minutes to 1 hour (until it is no longer wet in the middle and has browned on the top – use a knife or a skewer to test that the middle of tart is done). Depending on how much filling you use, eyeball the cooking time, may need a bit more, may need a bit less.