We grow a lot of our own garlic, but there’s a window where the stuff in the ground doesn’t have big fat bulbs and the garlic from last year has sprouted. Then we use spring garlic, the straight, leek-like stems of growing garlic. It’s sweeter than mature garlic and lovely in a tart like this. Clean it like leek, discarding any tough, green bits and watching out for dirt.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 spring garlic stems, thinly sliced
- 1 large bunch English spinach, thinly sliced
- 5 egg yolks, beaten
- 250 g (1 cup) sour cream
- 100 g aged cheddar or parmesan, grated
- salad, to serve
- 300 g (2 cups) plain flour
- 150 g butter, chilled, chopped
- 2 tbsp natural yoghurt, chilled
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Chilling time 1 hour
You will need 4 x 12 cm-diameter tart pans with removable bases for this recipe.
To make the pastry, place the flour, butter and a good pinch of salt in a bowl. Using your fingertips, rub in the butter until it resembles breadcrumbs. Alternatively, you can pulse it in a food processor. Add the yoghurt and 2 tbsp chilled water or just enough to make a soft dough, then knead until just combined. Enclose in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Divide pastry into 4 pieces, roll out each piece and use to line 4 x 12 cm-diameter tart pans with removable bases. Refrigerate for a further 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 200°C. Cover each tart pan with baking paper and fill with dried beans or rice. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove beans and paper and bake for a further 5 minutes or until bases are dry. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan over a low heat and gently fry the garlic for 1 minute or until soft. Add the spinach and cook, stirring, until wilted. Popping a lid on can speed up this process. Spread the garlic and spinach evenly into each tartlet case. If there are any cooking juices leftover in the frying pan, return it over medium heat and simmer until liquid has reduced to less than a tablespoon, then you can add it to the sour cream mixture in the next step.
Add the egg yolks to the sour cream and beat until just combined. Add any reduced cooking juices, then season with pepper and a little salt, remembering that the cheese is salty. Stir in three-quarters of the cheese and carefully divide mixture among tartlets. Top each with a little of the remaining 25 g cheese and bake for 15 minutes or until set. Serve warm or at room temperature with salad.
Photography Alan Benson