Monday, 4 March 2013

Hampshire Watercress Tart

Around Hampshire, we are lucky enough to have the Hampshire Farmers Market Group run Farmers Markets all over Hampshire throughout the year.  January should have seen the first ever market in Emsworth, but rather a lot of snow put the kibosh on that one.  Thankfully February was a much better month and a good show of over 20 stalls plus lots of visitors / shoppers made it a worthy kick-off.

Amongst the stallholders was Maple Leaf Watercress, who supply lovely local bunched watercress.  I needed something to make for a Saturday lunch, so buying 3 bunches of watercress was just the excuse required to try a Watercress Tart.  I'd torn the recipe out of You magazine ages ago.

A top Mary Berry tip is to take the base of your tart tin and lay in on the work surface.  Lightly flour, then place your pre-made ball of shortcrust pastry in the centre. 


As you roll out the pastry you are able to see whether it is the right size, rather than lifting it up and down and placing it in the tin.  Once it looks the right size, pop it in the tin and fork over the base.


I tried to be clever this time, to prevent the sides from shrinking during the blind bake and decided not to trim the edges until after.  You place some tin foil in the base and add baking beans to weight it down.  Bake for 15 minutes in a static 200c oven.  Remove the foil, lightly brush with egg white and bake again for another 10 minutes until lightly coloured.  What I should have done, was removed the trimmings after removing the foil.  Leaving it until after the second bake, the pastry was getting more brittle.  No worries, but I'll know for next time - it just looked more rustic this way!

Add the filling, sprinkle the extra cheese and spring onions on and pop back in the over for 35-40 minutes.

The end result was a little dark, due to the sprinkled cheese and I had to cover it for the last 10 minutes of baking to stop it burning, but don't let the colour put you off - it tasted delicious.  A delectable mix of watercress and Gruyere cheese.

We ate it slightly warm, but it was even more tasty the next day cold.

I now have baking to plan for a Comic Relief Bake Sale and then Mothers Day.  Oh decisions, decisions!

Happy baking!

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