Sunday 25 February 2018

Forkful's easy suppers: Very creamy salmon tart

Forkful's very creamy salmon tart. Photo: Mark Duggan
Forkful's very creamy salmon tart. Photo: Mark Duggan

Aoife McElwain

There are two ways to go about making this tart. You can go super speedy and buy ready-made shortcrust pastry, or you can invest a little more time and make your own pastry from scratch.

I used to be afraid of making pastry, but now that I've gotten to know pastry a lot better, I can see that my fear was an irrational one. Like anything, a bit of practice and confidence helps ease the path of going from flour and butter to shortcrust pastry.

I've also found that using a food processor helps to make the whole process a lot easier. I suffer from a condition called "hot hands" which is a bit of a curse in the baking world. It means that the heat of my hands can start to melt the butter if I'm rubbing the flour and butter together, so a food processor takes out that bit of contact with the butter.

Another little trick is that once I've cut my butter into little cubes, I put them in the freezer for 10 or 15 minutes. This means my butter is very cold when it starts mixing with the flour.

If you don't have that additional time, shop-bought pastry is a really great alternative. I do find that some shop-bought brands can be a little oily so do try out a few different brands until you find one you like.

When you're not making the pastry from scratch, you can make this tart in about 30 to 40 minutes, because there's no waiting around for the pastry to chill and set. It's not a good idea to rush making pastry either, as that's when mistakes are made.

The addition of crème fraiche to this tart makes it lovely and creamy, and it's subtly different from the normal double cream quiche. It's lovely eaten warm or cold, and I like mine paired with a crisp, green salad.

Very creamy salmon tart

Serves 4

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cooking Time: 45 minutes


For the pastry:

225g plain flour

100g of cold butter, cut into cubes

Pinch of salt

3 tablespoons of cold water

For the filling

200g of crème fraiche

2 medium eggs

100g hot smoked salmon

1 teaspoon of fennel seeds

Pinch of salt and pepper


1. Make your pastry by placing the flour and butter into your food processor. Blitz until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the pinch of salt and the cold water, blitzing again until the mixture comes together. Transfer on to a clean, floured surface and bring the dough together with your hands.

2. Use some soft butter to grease a 23cm pastry tin. Roll out your pastry on a clean floured surface and press it into the pastry tin. Use a fork to gently prick the base of the pastry. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

3. Once it's been chilling for 30 minutes, pre-heat the oven to 200c/180c fan/gas mark 6. Cover the pastry with a piece of greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans (dried chickpeas are pretty good here). Put in the oven for 15 minutes, to allow the base to pre-bake before you add the filling.

4. Meanwhile, make the filling by mixing the crème fraiche, eggs, hot smoked salmon, fennel seeds, salt and pepper.

5. Remove the pastry case from the oven. Carefully fill the case with the filling and put back into the oven, baking for another 25 minutes, or until the filling has set.

6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before removing from the pastry tin and transferring to a serving plate. Serve alongside a fresh, green salad.

This week's storecupboard essential:

Fennel seeds: One of my favourite spices, fennel seeds add an aniseed kick to anything they meet. Be mindful to not go overboard with them, as they can be over-powering.

Irish Independent

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