Sunday, December 7, 2014

Ham and Cheese Tart

For December here at An Eat’n Man, I’m going to post several recipes whose photos have been sitting on the hard drive for a while—a sort of clearinghouse month this will be.  As I review the blog and my cooking record, I see I’ve got 92 posts on the blog, but over 150 dishes cooked and photographed and sitting on my computer.  I guess I’ve been more of a chef than a blogger, but oh well. 

So, coming up next month I’ll be announcing a big change to the blog.  No, I’m not turning vegan or anything like that.  I’ve just been working on some changes that will improve the appearance of the blog.  More on that in January. 

Anyhoo, this change will mean much of the photography that’s sitting around on the hard drive won’t be usable.  Not a big deal.  Some were fails anyway, and some I will redo to suit the changes to the blog.  But a few I hated to waste, so I’ve selected some of those and will be posting them throughout this month. 

First up is this awesome Ham and Cheese Tart.  I saw one of my fave chefs Bobby Flay make this on the Food Network a while back, so I had to try it.  I changed it a little bit, mainly because he used apricots in his, and I wanted mine to be strictly savory.  Here goes:

Ham and Cheese Tart

2 Sheets Puff Pastry, Thawed. 
3 to 4 Tablespoons coarse Grained Mustard
1/2 to 1 Pound Thinly Sliced Smoked Ham
8 Ounces Shredded White Cheddar
Handful Spinach Leaves
1 Egg
Cracked Black Pepper

Preheat oven to 400˚F

We’ll be using store-bought puff pastry for this.  

The box comes with two sheets, which is perfect for this recipe. 

Thaw the puff pastry according to the directions on the box, then lay it out on a well-floured surface and unfold one sheet.  

Roll it out till it has increased in size by about an inch on all sides.  Transfer it to a parchment paper lined baking sheet pan.   

Next, the mustard.  

I prefer this Maille brand Old Style Whole Grain Dijon, but use whatever you like.  Spread the mustard all over the puff pastry, 

leaving about an inch incovered all around the pastry. 

The ham:  

I prefer to use a nice, full-flavored smoked ham in the dish, but there are lots of other options as well.  Use whichever you like.  Just make sure it is sliced thin. 

Layer it on the puff pastry, again leaving an inch of the puff pastry uncovered all around. 

Crack a little black pepper on the ham.  No salt though, hams are cured and have plenty of salt already in them. 

Sprinkle your shredded white cheddar onto the ham. 

Spread some spinach leaves over the cheese. 

Now, roll out the other sheet of puff pastry to the same size as the first.  Carefully transfer it to the sheet pan, laying it over the first puff pastry exactly. 

Seal up the edges by pressing all around with a fork.  This will give it a lovely decorative edge as well. 

Beat the egg with a few drops of water and brush it into the tart.  

Using a lame or sharp knife, cut a few slits in the top of the tart to let steam escape. 

The Tart, ready to go into the oven.

Pop it in the oven and bake for 30 minutes or so, until the tart is puffed up and golden brown. 

Slice into six or eight slices and serve immediately. 


Until Next Time,

Ham it up!


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