Smoked haddock and watercress tart

Smoked haddock and watercress tart

By
From
How to Cook Pastry
Serves
6
Photographer
Peter Cassidy

This tart is full of flavour. The peppery watercress complements the smoked haddock perfectly. Serve with a simple watercress salad – just dress some extra leaves with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. You will need a 24cm loose-based flan tin (or ring).

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 quantity Rich shortcrust pastry
extra flour, to dust

For the filling

Quantity Ingredient
225g smoked haddock fillet, skin on
200ml milk
6 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
large handful baby watercress
3 eggs
350ml double cream
75g cheddar cheese
salt
ground white pepper

Method

  1. Roll out the chilled pastry on a lightly floured surface to a 3mm thickness and use to line the loose-based flan tin or flan ring set on a baking sheet. Cover with cling film and chill in the fridge until firm to the touch, 20–30 minutes. Wrap and chill any leftover pastry. Heat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Meanwhile, for the filling, place the smoked haddock in a saucepan, skin side down to protect the flesh from the direct heat. Pour the milk over the fish and add the peppercorns and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer over a gentle heat. Cover the fish with a piece of damp greaseproof paper and poach gently for 5 minutes, or until just starting to flake.
  3. Remove the fish from the pan and discard the milk. Skin the fish and remove any pin bones, then flake it into large pieces; set aside to cool.
  4. Blanch the watercress in boiling water for 30 seconds. Drain, refresh in cold water, then drain again thoroughly.
  5. Blind bake the pastry case for 15–20 minutes, then remove the paper and beans and bake for a further 5 minutes, or until the pastry looks dry and feels sandy to the touch. Remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 150°C.
  6. Put the eggs and cream into a small bowl and mix well with a fork until evenly combined. Pass this mixture through a sieve into a clean medium bowl. Grate the cheese.
  7. Add the poached haddock and blanched watercress to the egg and cream mixture with the grated cheese. Taste and season with salt and white pepper.
  8. Using a slotted spoon, spoon the fish, watercress and cheese into the pastry case; they should half-fill it. Pour the creamy egg mixture over the filling, filling the case as much as possible. Lift some sprigs of watercress to the surface, for colour.
  9. Carefully transfer to a shelf in the lower third of the oven and bake the tart for 40–50 minutes until the custard is pale yellow and just a little soft in the centre. To check, give the tart a little shake; there should be no violent wobble in the centre. (An overcooked filling will rise up and feel springy to the touch.)
  10. Allow to cool slightly on the baking sheet, then remove the side of the tin, if using, and slide the tart onto a wire rack, or lift off the flan ring after transferring. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.
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