Sunday, October 20, 2013

Hardly Getting Over Ottolenghi: Caramelized Garlic Tart

Chef Ottolenghi had me at Shakshuka, but this garlic tart is what finally sealed my undying devotion. I am afraid to write any description of it, lest I further condemn myself to that special level of hell reserved for adjective over-users. I'll let the man himself sum it up:

I followed his recipe closely, except I didn't have fresh herbs and substituted dried, and I used phyllo dough instead of puff pastry because they were out of puff pastry at the store. The flakey phyllo was delicious - I think any kind of crust would work well. The recipe says it serves eight. Ha ha. Four of us devoured this easily.

Caramlized Garlic Tart
adapted with minor changes from Plenty by Ottolenghi
Serves 8 (not really)

3 whole heads of garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 cup water
3/4 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon chopped rosemary or 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon chopped thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
8 sheets phyllo dough, thawed
Olive oil or cooking spray for phyllo crust
4-5 ounces soft, creamy goat's cheese
4-5 ounces hard, mature goat's cheese
2 eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup créme fraiche
Salt and black pepper

Preheat oven to 325

To caramelize garlic:

Separate and peel all the cloves, put them in a small pan, cover with water, bring to a simmer, and blanch for three minutes. Drain.

Warm olive oil over high heat, add garlic, and fry for 2 minutes. Add vinegar and water, bring to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add sugar, herbs, a pinch of salt, and continue to simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated and the cloves are coated in a dark syrup. This is the hardest moment of making this recipe. You will want to eat all of these incredibly tasty garlic cloves. Show some restraint. But no need to be a saint - eat ONE, go ahead. Set the rest aside.

Prepare the phyllo crust:

Lightly oil a tart pan or pie plate and layer the phyllo sheets, brushing each layer with olive oil (or spray with cooking spray - easier but not quite as yummy). There will be substantial overhang, which you should trim with scissors down to about an inch. Roll this overhang in to form a rim. It doesn't need to be perfect.

Break the cheeses into big bite-sized pieces and scatter into the phyllo crust. Add the garlic and every bit of its syrupy coating.

Whisk together the eggs, creams, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and generous pinch of pepper.  Pour over everything.

Bake 45-55 minutes, until the filling has set and the top is nice and brown.

Let the tart cool a little before serving. But rest assured your adoration of Ottolenghi will not be cooling. Not at all. I'll be making his lemon and goat cheese ravioli next, so please stay tuned.