I came across a recipe a couple of years ago when I was browsing through Stephanie Alexander’s wonderful book The Cook’s Companion that intrigued me. It was for a carrot tart that she had adapted from an eighteenth century recipe of the English cook, Hannah Glasse.
I tried it, omitting the sugar, and found that it became neither savoury nor sweet, but oh so delicate and a joy to eat, each mouthful a discovery of beautifully balanced flavours. We ate it, not even bothering to sit at the table, but at the kitchen bench, greedily devouring each morsel. Heaven.
And then, I forgot about it… until a few weeks ago, when I went to my usual Wednesday market and found that there was someone new there with the most beautiful vegetables and herbs. Tiny turnips, baby beets, heirloom carrots, micro herbs, all with film star looks, and a huge punch of flavour.
So for a couple of weeks I had the great pleasure of cooking with gorgeous produce, and thought that I’d attempt this tart again, topping it with roasted heirloom carrots from www.exportfresh.com.au This time, the tart was even more alive and delicious with a lovely contrast of textures and flavours, and we ate it in a more civilised fashion.
It’s lovely straight from the oven, or at room temperature and feeds 4 people, more for an entrée. Make it with a buttery shortcrust pastry, or whatever pastry takes your fancy. And, track down Export Fresh if you’re in Sydney, lovely guys, great produce.
- Your favourite shortcrust pastry to line a tart tin measuring 36cm x 13cm
- 100g carrot, finely grated
- 60g ground almonds
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 whole egg
- 150ml pouring cream
- 60g cooled, melted butter
- 1/2tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Roast Honeyed Carrots
- 3 bunches small heirloom carrots, each a different colour
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 12 fresh thyme sprigs
- Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
For the roast honeyed carrots, preheat your oven to 180C. Wash and scrub carrots, trim tops, and if large, cut in half lengthways. Lay on a baking tray lined with parchment paper, drizzle with honey and olive oil, scatter with sprigs of thyme, season with salt and pepper, and put into the oven for 15-20 minutes until just tender. Remove from oven and turn up to 200C.
Meanwhile, line your tart tin with the pastry, cover with parchment paper, and fill with baking beans. After taking the carrots out of the oven, put the pastry-lined tin into the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove paper and beans, and lower oven to 180C. Mix remaining ingredients together and pour into pastry case. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the filling has set and developed a soft golden crust. Remove from oven, top with roast honeyed carrots, drizzle with any juices, and serve.