So, let's get to it and bake!
Wensleydale Cheese Tarts Yum
Yield: 3 x 12cm tarts
Freezable: Pastry case only
Time: 30 minutes hands on; about 20 - 25 minutes bake and grilling time; plus resting time.
Adapted from: 'Flavours of....Yorkshire Recipes', Wensleydale Tart.
You will need:
Bowl, medium sized
Pallet Knife (or similar)
3 x 12cm Flan Tins, loose bottomed (or patty tins if you prefer them smaller)
Baking Tray (large enough to hold the flan tins)
Baking Beans / uncooked Rice
Pan, small heavy based
For the Short Crust Pasty
85g Plain Flour
40g Unsalted Butter, chilled & diced
Shop bought ready made Short Crust Pastry if you prefer
For the Cheese Sauce Filling
1 medium Onion, finely chopped
2 x 25g Butter
Pinch grated Nutmeg
25g Plain Flour
2 x 60g Wensleydale Cheese, grated
How to make them:
1. Make the pastry. Place the flour, salt and cubed chilled butter into a good sized bowl. Rub the butter into the flour between your thumb and finger tips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre of the breadcrumbs and add 1 tablespoon of cold water. Using a rounded pallet knife, or similar, cut through the mixture to make a dough. Add a little more cold water a teaspoon at a time to fully bring the mixture together. Shape the pastry into a ball and flatten into a disc. Wrap in cling film and place into the fridge for 30 minutes to rest and chill.
2. Line the tart tins. Remove the pastry from the fridge and unwrap. Cut the pastry into 3 equal pieces. Place one piece onto a lightly floured work surface. Flour the rolling pin. Roll the pastry out until it is nice and thin, about 2 - 3mm. Wrap the pastry around the rolling pin and carefully place it over one of the tins and gently lay it inside. Use the pad of your thumb and fingers to ensure it sits in the tin well. Avoid stretching the pastry. Use a pair of scissors to cut off some of the excess pastry. Repeat with the other tart tins.
3. Set aside to rest. Place the lined tins into the fridge for 20 minutes to rest.
4. Meanwhile pre-heat the oven to 200c / 180 fan / Gas 6. Place a baking tray into the centre of the oven large enough to hold your flan tins.
5. Prepare to blind bake. Remove the chilled pastry cases from the fridge. Use a paring knife to trim the excess pastry from the flan tins. Cut 3 pieces of greaseproof paper large enough to fully line the pastry case. Scrunch the paper and open it back out. Lay the paper carefully inside the pastry case. Pour in some baking beans or uncooked rice to hold down the paper, encouraging the paper into the edge of the pastry case.
6. Blind bake. Place the flan tins onto the heated tray in the oven and bake for 15- 20 minutes until the pastry is fully cooked. You may need to rotate the flan cases half way through the bake. Once cooked through, remove from the oven and place onto a cooling tray.
7. Make the filling. Melt 25g of the butter in a frying pan. Add the prepared onion and gently cook over a low to medium heat until it is soft and transparent, moving the onion around periodically. Avoid browning the onion. Place the second 25g butter portion into a pan and set over a medium heat to melt. Tip in the nutmeg and flour. Use the wooden spoon to stir the flour into the butter to make a thick smooth paste. Slowly add the milk to the paste, stirring all of the time allowing the milk to fully combine with the paste before adding more. Once all of the milk has been incorporated allow the sauce to cook for a few minutes on a low heat, stirring all of the time. Add the onions and 60g of the cheese. Stir until it has melted. Season and stir again. Take off the hob heat.
8. Assemble the tart. Divide the cheese sauce between the pastry cases. Level it out with the back of a teaspoon. Top each of the tarts with the remaining grated cheese. Sprinkle over some breadcrumbs.
9. Grill. Place the tarts under a moderate grill for 3 or 4 minutes until the cheese has mostly melted and the top is golden brown. You may need to rotate the tarts partway through the process, taking care not to burn the pastry edges.
a) If you're unable to get hold of Wensleydale cheese, your could consider replacing it with a mild white crumbly cheese.
b) Shop bought pastry will work equally as well as homemade pastry.
c) If your sauce goes a little lumpy when adding the milk, take it off the heat and beat thoroughly with the wooden spoon. Once smooth again, return to the heat and continue with the recipe.
d) If making ahead of time, stop at the end of step 7. When ready to assemble give the sauce a thorough mix before filling the tart case.
e) The original recipe tells us that the Wensleydale tarts should be eaten warm rather than piping hot.