In France, spinach and goat’s cheese is a classical combination. The “chèvre-épinards” can be declined in tarts, lasagne, layered savoury pastries (“feuilletés”), flans, muffins and much more. The combination is tested and widely approved.
But I know that in the UK some people find the taste of goat’s cheese too strong (not me, I once ate a whole goat’s cheese log on my own and without a piece of bread. I know, I’m not proud of myself either), therefore I thought that using mozzarella instead would be a safe option, one that everyone would enjoy. And it is delicious indeed.
Yet, I couldn’t bring myself to leave the goat’s cheese out… So I opted for a tart that is half topped with mozzarella and half with goat’s cheese. Genius, now people can chose what cheese they want!
As usual, the recipe is very easy, hence perfect for a weekday dinner. It’s also ideal for picnics, barbecues, summer lunch, whenever.
- Puff pastry
- 400 grams of fresh spinach
- 70 grams of grated cheese (my mum would have used gruyère, but cheddar is just as good)
- 4 eggs
- 3 tbsp of crème fraîche
- For the topping: mozzarella and goat’s cheese (if you want to make it 50/50 like I did: 90 grams of goat’s cheese; 1 ball of mozzarella)
- Salt and pepper
Ok, I’ll admit, I bought ready-made puff pastry because, as mentioned before, this was on a school night and I just didn’t have the time – nor will – to make pastry. Also, puff pastry is SO difficult that I don’t really bother, and the ones you buy are good so I don’t even feel bad about it. But if you want to make yours, here’s a good recipe!
Roll your pastry onto a lined tart/quiche/flan baking dish, pick with a fork, cover with baking paper and ceramic balls and blind bake for 10 minutes on the middle shelf of a pre-heated oven (210C). After 5 minutes, remove the ceramic balls and top paper and put back in the oven until slightly golden and the pastry is almost fully cooked. Leave out to cool while you make the filling.
The reason we blind-bake the pastry fully is that spinach is a very wet vegetable, and if we were to put straight onto raw pastry, there’s a chance that the pastry wouldn’t cook thoroughly.
Cook your spinach covered in a large saucepan (no oil, no water) on very low heat. When raw, 400 grams looks like it’s loads. But by the time it’s cooked, you’ll think it’s a joke, there’s just enough left to cover the base of the tart. Once cooked, put the spinach in a colander and press it down to get as much water out as possible. If you don’t get the water out, the bottom of your tart will be soggy. And we don’t like soggy bottoms (Mary Berry, if you read this!)
Next, in a bowl, mix the creme fraîche, eggs, grated cheese, salt, pepper and whisk until all blended. Don’t hesitate to taste and season, and remember that the spinach have not been seasoned, so feel free to add a little more salt to the mix.
In the pastry case, place all the spinach making sure it’s spread everywhere. Pour the eggy mixture on top, then top with thick slices of goat’s cheese and/or mozzarella.
Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden and the cheese has melted.
Serve warm with a salad on the side. Bon appétit!