Goat Cheese and Bacon Tart
Hardy developed this simple recipe many years ago as a way to use up the generous quantities of local goat cheese the Little Nell receives during the spring and summer months. While the recipe below has been adapted for standard tart and pie pans, Hardy's original version contains double the amount of filling, which is baked in a 10-inch deep-dish fluted tin, yielding a "thicker, creamier, more decadent final dish."
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- Pastry for a 9-inch fluted tart ring or pie pan
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1½ teaspoons sliced garlic
- 1 pound fresh spinach, hard stems removed
- 1¾ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ cup half-and-half
- 3 large eggs (preferably fresh and pasture-raised)
- ½ bunch chives, chopped
- ¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg, ground
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 2 ounces fresh goat cheese (chèvre), crumbled
- 2 ounces bacon, diced and cooked until crisp
- THE CRUST: Roll out the pastry to an 11-inch round and press it to line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch tart ring or pie pan. Flute or trim the edges. Chill pastry for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 325°F.
- THE FILLING: In a large skillet over medium-high heat, sautè the butter and garlic until fragrant, but not browned, about 30 seconds. Add the spinach, season with a ¼ teaspoon salt, and cook until spinach is wilted and the liquid it releases evaporates. Remove to a paper towel to cool. Coarsely chop the spinach leaves and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the cream, half-and-half, eggs, chives, Parmigiano-Reggiano, remaining 1½ teaspoons salt, the pepper, nutmeg, and cayenne. Arrange the chopped spinach, bacon, and half of the goat cheese in the tart shell; pour the custard over. Dot the remaining goat cheese across the top of the custard. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the filling is set in the center. Cool tart to warm before slicing.
- Purchase a ready-made pie crust, preferably one made with butter.
- Combine the filling ingredients and store in the refrigerator up to one day ahead. Remove it from the refrigerator an hour and a half before you plan to bake the tart so the mixture is not too chilled.
culture: the word on cheese http://culturecheesemag.com/