Can one ever tire of quiche? The answer is yes, certainly. There are times when, really, enough is enough!
This is a very good, and tasty alternative. The fennel seeds give it a bit of crunch and the apricots prevent the sausage meat from taking over as it were.
It can be prepared ahead of time, or frozen, and reheated. If you freeze, allow time for the tart to defrost, and then reheat in a hot oven, otherwise the pastry can go soggy.
You can buy ready-made shortcrust pastry – or very easily make your own – this recipe makes just the right amount.
It goes especially well with chargrilled broccoli with miso sauce and toasted hazelnuts.
NB allow a couple of hours cooking/cooling time.
Fennel and sausage meat tart
Serves – 8
- 2 fennel bulbs
- 300 ml/1¼ cups vegetable stock
- 60 ml/¼ cup/4 tablespoons dry vermouth
- 500g/1 lb 2 oz shortcrust pastry sheets– Picard makes a very good one exactly this weight with lots of butter. Or you could try making your own.
- 450g/1 lb pork sausage meat (or about 8 sausages)
- 50g/⅓ cup grated parmesan or grana padano
- 1 egg
- 250g/8 oz cream cheese or mascarpone
- 3 tbsps apple and blackberry chutney; or a peach or apricot based chutney
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper or some Urfa pepper flakes
- 1 tsp fennel seeds, dry fried
- 4 dried apricots, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 210°C.
- Trim the fennel (save some of the fronds) and cut lengthways into eighths.
- Put it in a lidded casserole
- Pour over the stock and the vermouth.
- Cover and cook for about an hour until soft. Set six or eight of the pieces aside and roughly chop the remainder.
- Meanwhile butter a circular tart tin and line it with the pastry. Neaten off the edges with a knife or a rolling pin, and put in the fridge to cool for about 20 minutes.
- Then line the pastry with butter paper, or greaseproof paper, and fill with baking beans to bake blind (in the same oven as the fennel) for about 15 minutes. Remove the beans and put back in the oven for another five minutes to crisp up a bit. If you are lucky enough to own an Aga you don’t need to do this step – follow this link to find out why you don’t have to bake blind if you have an Aga or other similar type of range.
- Meanwhile mix the chopped fennel with the sausagemeat, half the grated cheese and all of the soft cheese, the egg, the fennel seeds, the chopped apricots, and the chutney. Season with salt and pepper or Urfa pepper flakes. Stir again.
- Fill the pastry case with the mixture, smoothing it down to make it level. Arrange the remaining fennel in a star shape, pressing down into the mixture to embed it securely.
- Put the tart back into the same oven and bake for about 40 minutes – the pastry should be golden.
- Snip some of the reserved fronds over the tart, and serve.