Three cheese and spinach tart

Oh yes. A parmesan shortcrust.

Oh yes. A parmesan shortcrust.

I’ve had a bit of a baking overload and need a break. This year I’ve made enough brownies, pies, cookies, boreks, tarts and cakes to make me turn hostile.

This savoury tart is worth making again sometime when I get over this non-baking phase. With parmesan in the shortcrust base and ricotta and feta in the spinach and pinenut filling, it’s a bit of a cheesefest. Nutmeg scents the entire tart, bringing the best out of the cheese and the spinach. To add crunch, I threw in a handful of toasted pinenuts too.

Still need to add the pinenuts and lemon zest

Still need to add the pinenuts and lemon zest

If you don’t have a tart case, don’t worry! Just do it galette style by rolling out the pastry into a large circle on a piece of baking paper. Transfer to a baking sheet to finish the preparation. Pour the filling into the centre, leaving a generous inch of pastry on the edge. Fold up the edges with a wide pleat to overlap part of the filling and then bake as directed. It will probably look more beautiful and rustic. Never feel compelled to buy more kitchenware unless you’ll use it often.

Swap out one of the soft cheeses for goats cheese if that’s how your cheese tastes run. I don’t love goats cheese as it can sometimes taste like I’m licking the side of a goat. But I digress. Make this tart! You’ll be very glad you did.

Feeds: 4 people for a light meal with salad
Start cooking: 2 hours before eating

Three cheese and spinach tart

Ingredients:

Filling:

  • 250 grams x baby spinach
  • 100 grams x feta
  • 25 grams x pinenuts (a handful)
  • 200 grams x fresh ricotta
  • 20 grams x parmesan, freshly grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon x black pepper
  • 1 x lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon x freshly grated nutmeg

Shortcrust pastry:

  • 150 grams x plain flour
  • 90 grams x butter
  • 50 grams x parmesan, freshly grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon x salt
  • 4-5 tablespoons x ice water

Method:

  1. To make the parmesan pastry, place flour, butter, parmesan and salt in a bowl. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, add the butter by cutting until incorporated. Or pulse in a food processer until it looks like sand.
  2. Add in four tablespoons of water, stirring pastry with a knife until it starts to come together. Press dough together gently and if it’s not coming together, add one more tablespoon of water. Wrap dough in cling wrap and rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, toast the raw pinenuts in a dry frypan for a minute until just browning.
  4. Rinse the raw spinach leaves. Place a large frying pan over medium heat with a teaspoon of vegetable oil. Add the spinach to the pan and cook until just wilted, about 2 minutes.
  5. Place the cooked spinach on a plate to cool for 10 minutes. Once cooler, squeeze the spinach in a clean teatowel over a sink to extract the excess water. Chop the spinach roughly and place in a large bowl.
  6. Crumble the ricotta and feta and add to the spinach, along with the parmesan, nutmeg and pepper. Zest the lemon and stir the filling together. Place aside while we roll the pastry.
  7. Preheat the oven to 180 C / 350 F.
  8. Take the chilled dough out of the fridge. Place the pastry between two large sheets of baking paper and using short strokes with a rolling pin, press out dough until 5mm thick to the shape of your tart case. The pastry will shrink slightly once baked. (The pastry is so buttery enough that your case doesn’t need to be prepped).
  9. Peel off the top baking sheets and quickly and confidently invert pastry onto tart case. Take off the remaining baking sheet and trim the excess dough, patching any holes as needed. The pastry is very forgiving so no need to be too precious about it.
  10. Pour the filling into pastry lined tart case. Use the back of a spoon to smooth the filling evenly in the tart.
  11. Optional – grate over more fresh nutmeg and parmesan cheese. I’m a nutmeg fiend so happily grated more of the spice over the tart. If it’s a hot day, chill the tart in the fridge for 15 minutes before baking.
  12. Bake tart in your preheated oven for 50 minutes until pastry is cooked through and tart is slightly golden. Serve with a salad and a lemon wedge.
Ready for the oven

Ready for the oven

I love the smell of nutmeg in baked goods

I love the smell of nutmeg in baked goods

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