Monday, August 31, 2009

Roquefort Tart

A few weeks ago I bought the book A Table in the Tarn. It is the chronicle of two British guys who decide to quit corporate life in London to start an inn in the South of France. It is really a lovely book about their endeavor to remodel an old manoir and create a place that is both modern and quintessentially French. These guys are living my dream. I dream of someday having an inn where I can cook for my guests.

For breakfast I would serve bowls of the freshest fruit available. Right now it would be, maybe, a peach and blackberry compote with homemade granola and thick plain yogurt. I would serve brioche and homemade jam from the trees in my orchard because my inn would have an orchard. Peach, cherry, apricot, apple, pear, and oh I can't forget a fig. But then there is also citrus. Lemon, meyer lemon, orange, blood orange, grapefruit. Is that too much?

Lunch would be a lazy affair. Served out in the garden or under the trees in the orchard. I imagine serving something like this Roquefort tart with a salad of pickled beets and arugula. When I saw the photo of this tart in the book, I knew it would be one of the first recipes I would try. It made for a perfectly lovey late summer lunch. And with a cold glass of rose on a warm Sunday afternoon. Does life really get any better?

The shortcrust pastry gets a bit of added texture from semolina flour. It is a nice contrast to the creamy filling. The filling was actually quite light in texture despite being full of cheese, cream and eggs. Deceptively light in fact. Consider that a fair warning. I did make a couple of substitutions to the original recipe which probably resulted in the lighter quality. I didn't have any mascarpone, so I used Greek yogurt. I also didn't have any creme fraiche, so I used regular cream. I figured the tang from the yogurt would compensate for not using creme fraiche. I was right! The texture of the filling was somewhere between a cheesecake and a souffle. The Roquefort is mellowed by the cream and eggs but is still piquant enough to be interesting and pair beautifully with pickled beets.

Although opening my inn is a quite a way down the road, I think I'll be able to busy myself with perfecting the dishes I might make. I don't think my friends will mind being guinea pigs.

Roquefort and Chive Tart
adapted from A Table in the Tarn

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour: replace 1-2 tablespoons with semolina
salt, pepper, pinch of cayenne
6 tablespoons unsalted butter

good handful of chives and parsley, roughly chopped, save a pinch of chives for garnishing
1 cup mascarpone (or Greek yogurt)
7 tablespoons Roquefort
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
3 eggs
1 cup creme fraiche

Make the pastry by processing the dry ingredients. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Add just enough water, 2-3 tablespoons, so the pastry just begins to form a ball. Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for an hour. Roll out the dough to about 1/8 inch thickness and press into a 9 inch (1 1/4 inch deep) tart pan. Save the scraps for patching cracks. Freeze the pastry case for at least 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375F (350F convection). Crumple up a big sheet of parchment paper then uncrumple it and lay it over the pastry. Cover with dried beans or pie weights and bake for 20 minutes till firm. Remove paper and beans and continue baking for 10-20 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Remove the pastry and patch any cracks with the pastry scraps.

Make the filling by whizzing the herbs, mascarpone, Roquefort and butter in a food processor until smooth. Add the eggs, process well, then the cream and seasoning: pepper and a pinch of cayenne (no salt). Pour into the hot pastry case and immediately put in the oven for 25 minutes, until golden, slightly puffed and just set in the center. Serve at room temperature.

Serves 6


  1. "sqeak squeak" said one of the guinea pigs, nodding her head in fervent agreement.

  2. i may have introduced a typo or two... perhaps "squek" vs "squeak"? if so, i apologize! sigh. spelling has never been my strong suit.

  3. No. They will not mind being guinea pigs. And I feel absolutely no shame in speaking for all of us, even the ones I don't know.

  4. I think your dream has just become my dream. Seriously. An inn where I could cook for my guests? Sounds so perfect!

  5. just beautiful..both the tart and the dream.
    I would like to be a guest at your inn or should I say will be a guest - i am a believer xx

  6. This looks HEAVENLY!!! Oh, the MISFORTUNE of being married to a completely lactose-intolerant spouse who's otherwise too good to get rid of!!!! I'm just going to have to invite some lactose-loving friends over so I can make this tart.
    And count me as an advance booking at your Inn, too!!