Caramelized garlic tart, or how to keep the vampires away!
I love garlic, and use it liberally when i cook: just a clove or two can impart so much flavor. Its also good for you– it often comes up on lists of super foods (although sometimes I think ever fruit, vegetable and herb is given a super hero cape to try on at some point). I’ve seen it said that garlic stimulates immunity, is more powerful than penicillin and is anti carcinogenic. And if you aren’t sure if you believe all that… well we all know about its use as an anti-vampire weapon: something I really appreciate, since, despite my love of most things fantasy and science fiction, I do NOT like vampires! The one thing I am sorry to report garlic does not appear to be good for is keeping mosquitos at bay — despite many claims that it can be used in this way, it appears that the claim does not hold up in actual scientific testing — nor does this garlic tart prevent me from returning home from the park studded with itchy little bites!
Anyway… thats a long introduction all of which is just to say: I LOVE GARLIC!
So when I first read this Caramelized Garlic Tart recipe in Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty (a book I’ve raved about before) I had one of those Aha! moments and immediately wondered why I hadn’t thought of this before. Baking garlic renders it sweet (I have one of those little terracotta garlic bakers which make preparing a whole garlic super easy, and I can easily sit and squeeze clove after clove onto some baguette until the whole thing is gone!). And I know all about caramelizing it’s cousin the onion… so it made perfect sense that caramelized garlic would be delicious. And it is! The recipe calls for a filling of only garlic and cheese, which keeps the flavor really intense. When I made it the second time I actually halved the goat cheese and added more garlic as I found the cheese flavor had slightly overwhelmed the more subtle intensity of the garlic. I highly recommend making an additional portion of the garlic filling, too: it will keep in a jar in the fridge and is great on a slice of toast.
- 13 0z puff pastry
- 4 whole heads garlic
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup water
- ¾ Tbs sugar
- 1 tsp chopped rosemary
- 1 tsp chopped thyme, plus a few whole sprigs to finish
- salt and pepper
- 2 1/2 oz soft, creamy goat’s cheese (or up to 4 1/2 but use a mild cheese)
- 4 1/2 oz hard, mature goat’s cheese (like goat gouda)
- 2 free-range eggs
- 6 1/2 Tbs heavy cream
- 6 1/2 Tbs crème fraîche
Roll out the pastry into a circle that will line the bottom and sides of a shallow, loose-bottomed, 11″ fluted tart tin. Line the tin with pastry, lining the sides of the tin, too a little above the top. Place a circle of greaseproof paper on the bottom and fill with pie weights (or baking beans) Leave to rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350F and blind-bake the case for 20 minutes, remove the beans and paper, and bake for five to 10 minutes more, until golden. Set aside.
Meanwhile, make the caramelized garlic. Separate and peel all the cloves, put them in a small pan and cover with water. Bring to a simmer, blanch for three minutes and drain. Dry the pan, return the garlic to it along with the oil and fry on a high heat for two minutes. Add the vinegar and water, bring to a boil, then simmer gently for 10 minutes. Add the sugar, chopped herbs and a quarter-teaspoon of salt, and continue to simmer for 10 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the cloves are coated in a dark syrup. Set aside.
Break the goat’s cheeses into pieces and scatter in the tart case. Spoon the garlic and syrup evenly over the cheese. Whisk the eggs, creams, half a teaspoon of salt and some black pepper, then pour over the garlic mix, filling any gaps and making sure the garlic and cheese peep over the top.
Turn the oven to 325F and bake the tart for 35–45 minutes, until the filling has set and the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool a little. Take the tart out of its tin, lay a few sprigs of thyme on top and enjoy!