Herbed Cheese Tart – a recipe

The following recipe is adapted from one found in the Time-Life series, The Good Cook – Eggs & Cheese. Their recipes are gathered from sources around the world, which I love. The title of the book from which this recipe originates translates from the French into “The Book of the virtuous voluptuousness”, which could possibly refer to the chard as virtue and the butter as voluptuousness, both serious food for thought. You will need a pre-baked tart or pie shell.

I used a blend of several herbs, and the flavor was fresh and new, somewhat unexpected and yet rich from the butter and cheese. I think you could mix this up in any number of ways, using what you have on hand, such as cottage cheese or – as we did tonight – crustless, just a buttery film coated with hazelnut crumbs and grated parmesan. Make it your own.

lemon oregano, thyme flowers, sage blossoms, dillweed, lemon thyme, chive blossoms

Herbed Cheese Tart – makes one tart to serve 6

  • 24 ounces ricotta cheese or farmer’s cheese
  • 5 large eggs, saving out 1 egg for the saffron glaze
  • 1½ pounds Swiss chard (or similar greens), ribs removed and leaves chopped
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh marjoram or basil, minced
  • salt & pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron softened in 1 tablespoon boiling water, divided
  • 6 tablespoons butter or lard, room temperature
  • 12-inch pre-baked tart shell crust

Set oven at 400˚F.  In a large bowl, stir up the cheese with four of the eggs so they are well blended. Add the greens, herbs and salt & pepper. Stir in half the saffron water and the softened butter with this eggy blend, mixing with your hands if it gets too thick.

Beat the last egg together with the remaining saffron water; reserve. Fill tart shell with egg-chard mixture and place in oven to bake for 15 minutes. After this time, remove from oven and pour the reserved egg-saffron mixture over the top of the tart, and return to oven for another 15 minutes, or until slightly puffy.

Let rest a few minutes before slicing, or let cool and serve at room temperature. Serve with a fruity white wine followed with sliced pears or apples for dessert.  

© Doreen Shababy, excerpted from a work in progress.