Ground Elder and Goat’s Cheese TartsPosted 14 June 2013 by Debbie
Ground elder is a perennial plant that was introduced to this island by the Romans. It’s now considered a weed in the gardening world, but happily it’s edible, so get foraging and kill two birds with one stone.
It has quite a distinctive, earthy flavour that goes well with a salty goat’s cheese and sweet caramelised onions in these individual tarts. I didn’t manage to get a decent photo; I must have been too eager to get this chap into my tummy! I served these with vegetables and mashed potato for dinner, but you could easily have the tarts as a starter for a bigger meal.
This is a fairly quick and easy recipe, especially if you use ready-made pastry and caramelised onions from a jar (although I must say, if you can make your own shortcrust pastry, then give it a go. It really doesn’t take long, and it’s delicious!) If you can’t get hold of ground elder leaves, you could swap it for spinach or any other leafy greens really.
Ingredients (serves 4):
- 180 g shortcrust pastry (I used Michel Roux’s flan pastry recipe)
- 20 g ground elder leaves (or a few generous handfuls)
- 100 g caramelised onions or onion chutney
- 35 g cream cheese
- 50 g soft goat’s cheese
- 20 g pine nuts
Roll out your pastry to a thickness of about 2 mm. Cut out four circles with a diameter of about 12 cm to line four individual 8 cm diameter tart tins. (If you have different dimensions you might have to experiment a bit to get the pastry to fit.) Prick with a fork and chill for about 10 minutes.
Line the pastry with baking parchment and fill with baking beans (or lentils, rice etc if you don’t have any). Blind bake the pastry cases for 10 minutes at 180° C, or until golden.
Meanwhile, lightly steam the ground elder leaves until wilted. Stir together the caramelised onions and cream cheese. Chop up the elder leaves (leaving a few behind for decoration) and mix into the onions and cream cheese. Cut the goat’s cheese into small pieces. Spoon the onion mixture into the pastry cases, and top with goat’s cheese. Sprinkle on the pine nuts, and lay the decorative elder leaves on top.
Bake the tarts for 5-10 minutes at 180° C (as the pastry is already cooked, you are just heating through here really.)