Warning: Long post alert! Ok, let me rephrase that, long but delicious post alert.Do not be put off by the length of the post. It's one of those hearty dishes that you have one a lazy weekend. Filling, homely and so comforting. The tart shell is crumbly and divine. The filling makes you go back for more. Considering the length and the 'easy-to-break-into-steps' recipes involved, the entire procedure can be broken into two days with amazing results- better taste, a breeze to prepare and a happy you! So let's get cracking.
Start with the savory tart crust or the Pâte brisée. You can make this up to a day ahead, you will just have to store the dough in an air tight container in the refrigerator.
You will need:
- 250 g all purpose flour
- pinch of salt
-110 g butter chilled and cubed
-1 tablespoon fresh cream
-1 egg beaten for the egg wash
- a bowl that has been kept in the refrigerator (for the mixing)
-Sift together the salt and flour in a dry bowl and keep aside.
-Add the cubed pieces of butter to the flour mix and incorporate it into the flour using your fingertips. If you are in a place as humid as Chennai, you may want to keep the bowl in the freezer in reular intervals for a couple of minutes in between steps (in order to keep the ingredients and everything that comes in contact with it cold)
-Loosely incorporate the butter till the mix looks like coarse sand grain.
-Make a well of sorts in the mix by pushing the flour to the sides of the bowl.
-Pour the egg into the well and beat it with a spoon or fork. Mix it into the flour little by little.
-Add the fresh cream and start one tablespoon at a time and continue to incorporate it till the dough comes together. Be careful not to over-knead.
-Divide the dough into two balls, flatten gently into discs, cover in cling wrap and refrigerate for half an hour. At this point, you can store the dough in an air tight container in the refrigerator for a day.
-Take the discs out of the refrigerator and let it rest for 5 minutes or so.
-Once it has reached the stage where it can be rolled out, sprinkle flour on the work surface and roll out with the help of a rolling pin. Make sure there is enough to come up the sides of the tart pans as the pâte will shrink when blind baking by a few centimeters. So the pastry that you roll ought to be at least half an inch bigger in circumference than the tart pan.
-Make sure the tart is of uniform thickness of 4 cm all across. Also, make sure to roll from the center outwards.
-Gently lift the pastry and place in the tart pan. Make sure to brush off excess flour before lining the pan.
-Gently press the dough into the bottom and sides of the pan. Cover the pan with cling film.
-Refrigerate the tart pan again for another half hour.
-Twenty minutes into the above mentioned time, preheat the oven to 180 C.
-Take the tart shells out of the refrigerator, prick holes in the bottom of the patry with the tines of a fork, cover with aluminum foil, fill it uniformly with pie weights and blind bake at 170 C for twenty five min or till golden in color. (Another indication will be the smell of freshly baked pastry filling up the kitchen)
-Fifteen minutes into the blind baking, remove the pans, brush with the egg wash and pop back into the oven. Rotate the sheet if necessary to ensure uniform baking. The egg wash will give the tarts a nice golden hue.
All the waiting gives us ample time to make the filling.
For the filling, you will need:
1/2 kilo sear fish
2 thinly sliced onions
1 medium sized capsicum sliced
1 tomato diced
1 teaspoon grated ginger
11/2 teaspoon ground pepper
A tiny pinch of turmeric
1 green chili cut into small small pieces
1 egg, beaten
Fresh Cream - 1/4 cup
Grated Parmesan Cheese - 3 tablespoons
Oregano - 1 teaspoon
Marinate the fish in turmeric, ginger, garlic and pepper for 15 minutes. Cook/steam the fish for 10 mins and keep aside. Sauté the onions till translucent, add the tomatoes and capsicum with the green chili and sauté over a low flame till cooked and keep aside to cool.
Mix the cream, egg and cheese and add the sautéd veggies. Shred the fish finely and double check to ensure there are no bones. Add the fish into the cream-egg mix.
Add the mixture into the cooled pate brisée and bake in the oven for 35 minutes at 170 degrees or till the filling has set but is still moist and wobbly when shaken.