Learn how to make this gorgeous spinach and bacon tart from scratch. With a homemade flaky pastry dough and simple yet delicious filling, this tart is an impressive recipe to master
- Flaky pastry dough
- 260g plain flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 1tsp baking powder
- 170g unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 12 pieces
- 2 medium eggs
- 450g baby spinach or 280g frozen spinach, thawed
- 110g thin-sliced streaky bacon, cut into 5mm dice
- 85g finely diced white or yellow onion
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- 360ml single cream
- 110g coarsely grated mature Cheddar, Gouda or Swiss Gruyère cheese
- 3 medium eggs
To make the flaky pastry dough:
- To mix the dough by hand (you can also use a food processor to mix the dough), combine the flour, salt and baking powder in a medium bowl and stir to combine.
- Cut each piece of butter into 4 or 5 smaller pieces and add the pieces to the bowl. Using both hands, palms upward, reach under the dry ingredients to the bottom of the bowl and lift them up through the contents of the bowl several times to distribute the pieces of butter evenly.
- Use your fingertips to pinch the pieces of butter into smaller pieces, alternating that with rubbing the mixture between the palms of your hands, as well as occasionally repeating step 2.
- Continue rubbing in the butter until the largest pieces are no more than 5mm across, but the whole mixture is still cool and powdery.
- Add the eggs and use a fork to break them up. Move the bowl back and forth on the work surface while you stir from the bottom up with the fork until the dough is almost completely mixed.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and gently press it into a cohesive mass.
- Divide the dough in half, then flatten each half into a disc. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate until firm or as long as 3 days. Shape into a tart tin and chill for at least 3 hours.
For the filling:
- Rinse the spinach and place it in a colander to drain. Place the spinach in a large saucepan and place over a high heat. Cover the pan and let the spinach steam, uncovering and stirring it occasionally, until it is completely wilted and cooked through, about 5 mins. Drain in the same colander and allow to cool. Once cooled, squeeze the moisture from handfuls of the spinach, then coarsely chop by hand. If using frozen spinach, just wring out the excess moisture.
- Cook the bacon over a medium heat in a shallow sauté pan, stirring occasionally to keep the pieces separate. Once the bacon has coloured nicely, take off the heat and use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked bacon to a plate lined with kitchen paper. Pour off all but 1 tbsp of the bacon fat from the pan.
- Set a rack in the lowest level of the oven and preheat to 190˚C (gas mark 5).
- Place the pan on a medium heat and add the onion. Once it starts to sizzle, decrease the heat to low and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the onion is wilted and just beginning to colour, about 10 mins. Add the spinach and bacon to the pan and season with a little salt, several grindings of pepper, and a tiny pinch of nutmeg. Stir everything together until evenly combined.
- Scrape the mixture into a bowl and stir in the cream and grated cheese. Taste for seasoning. At this point, it should taste like well-seasoned creamed spinach. Add a little more salt and pepper if necessary. Whisk in the eggs one at a time. Scrape the filling into the prepared crust and spread it evenly.
- Bake the tart until the crust is well coloured and baked through and the filling is set, about 35-40 mins. Cool the tart on a rack and unmould it. Slide it from the flan tin base to a serving plate to serve.
Recipe taken from Bake! by Nick Malgieri (Kyle Cathie, £20) with photography by Quentin Bacon
Top tip: If you don't have the time to make flaky pastry, you can use ready-made.