'the new vegetarian' is one of my favourite places to go for new and exciting recipes! unfortunately, i had to improvise on this ottolenghi recipe. it originally was a comte and polenta tart, but comte uses animal rennet, as does the parmesan which was recommended to be used in the pastry. i replaced this with my home county cheese, davidstow cheddar. silly ottolenghi. anyway, i changed a few things round and it still came out wonderfully. i served it with parsnips, brocolli and a sweet potato mash.
"Adding polenta to short pastry, be it sweet or savoury, makes the "biting" experience more exciting. Serve with something fresh and sharp, such as a radish and lettuce salad dressed with lemon and garlic vinaigrette. Serves six to eight.
For the pastry
170g plain flour, plus extra to dust
60g quick-cook polenta
20g finely grated Davidstow cheddar
140g unsalted butter, fridge-cold and cut into cubes
A pinch of salt
For the filling
200g gruyere, grated
150ml crème fraîche
150ml single cream
2 tsp nigella seeds
¾ tsp each salt and ground white pepper
200g chopped Swiss chard, cooked for a few minutes in olive oil (or spinach, washed, wilted and drained)
In a food processor, work all the pastry ingredients except the water to fine crumbs, add the water and mix until it starts coming together – if it's still very crumbly and dry, add a tiny splash of water and pulse again. Tip out on to a work surface lightly dusted with flour, and work until the pastry comes together. Gently roll it out into a roughly 5mm thick round disc. Lifting the pastry with a palette knife, turn it around as you roll, then use a rolling pin to lay it in a deep, 24cm fluted tin. Cut off any excess hanging over the edges and use the offcuts to patch up any gaps. Chill in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Place a circle of greaseproof paper on top of the pastry case, fill with baking beans and bake for 20 minutes, until just golden. Remove the paper and beans, and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the pastry is cooked through. Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 150C/300F/gas mark 2.
While the pastry is cooking, mix together all the filling ingredients except the chard, then pour into the cooked tart case and dot with spoonfuls of chard. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the tart is just set and golden. Leave to cool for 10 minutes, remove from the tin and serve warm or at room temperature."