Thursday 18 January 2018

Warm crab and spinach tart

Neven Maguire


Serves six.


For the pastry 225g/8oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting

100g/4oz butter, diced and chilled

Pinch of dried chilli flakes


3 tbsps ice-cold water

A little egg wash, for brushing For the filling Knob of butter

350g/12oz spinach leaves, tough stalks removed

150ml/¼ pint cream

150ml/¼ pint milk

2 tbsps sweet chilli sauce

2 eggs

2 egg yolks

1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

200g/7oz white crab meat

100g/4oz freshly grated Parmesan

Lightly dressed green salad, to serve


Pre-heat oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. To make the pastry, place the flour, butter and chilli flakes in a food processor. Add half a teaspoon of salt and whizz briefly until the mixture forms fine crumbs.

Pour in the water through the feeder tube and pulse again so that the pastry comes together. Knead lightly on a lightly-floured surface for a few seconds to give a smooth dough. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for at least 10 minutes before rolling (or up to an hour if time allows).

Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and use to line a loose-bottomed 21cm/8½in fluted flan tin that is about 4cm/1½in deep. Use a rolling pin to lift the pastry into the tin, pressing well into the sides and letting the pastry overhang a little as this prevents shrinkage. Chill for another 10 minutes for the pastry to rest.

Prick the pastry base with a fork, then line with a circle of oiled foil or non-stick parchment paper that is first crumpled up to make it easier to handle. Fill with baking beans or dried pulses and bake for 10 minutes until the pastry case looks 'set', but not coloured. Carefully remove the foil or paper and lower the temperature to 160°C/325°F/ Gas Mark 3. Then brush with the egg wash to form a seal.

Return to the oven for another five minutes or until the base is firm to the touch and the sides are lightly coloured.

Heat the butter in a small pan and tip in the spinach. Sauté for a minute or two until wilted, then season to taste. Leave the spinach until cool enough to handle then squeeze dry and chop finely.

Beat together the cream in a bowl with the milk, chilli sauce, eggs and egg yolks until well combined. Stir in the parsley and season to taste.

Scatter the finely chopped spinach and crab meat in the bottom of the pastry case and sprinkle the Parmesan on top. Then pour in the cream mixture and bake for about 25 minutes, until the filling is just set but still slightly wobbly in the middle. Leave to rest for five minutes in the tin, then remove and trim down the excess pastry.

To serve, while still warm, carefully cut the crab and spinach tart into slices. Arrange on plates with the green salad.

Irish Independent

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