28 May, 2011

Getting the best out of your market!! Smoked chicken, pear, pecan and blue cheese tart

This is a favourite recipe of mine.  When I first made it I was trying to impress people, friends!, with the wonderfullness and inventiveness of my cooking.  I thought this was going to be a pain in the arse to make but it's not.
I haven't made in a while but while chatting to Des last week at the Donabate Market I had some of his blue cheese.  He gave me the spiel about how the cheese was made and how the warm weather was making it 'mould' up better and quicker than ever but I can't really remember so I'm not going to make stuff up so you'll have to go talk to him.
The blue is the one in the front.  There is a brie behind and the 'tother one is a herby type cheese and I think it may be a sheep's milk cheese.  I have the attention span of a gnat so you're better off going straight to the man himself.  The bread is from LaBoulangerie in Balbriggan as is what's in that little plastic dish beside it.  Oh Good God but what's in that dish is fabulous.  There is a smoked, sundried tomato pesto, hummus and a basil pesto.  And my lads love the pesto.  They make their own and get very sniffy if the pesto on offer isn't up to, ahem, their mammy's standards.  Don't you love how your kids think you are the best at everything?  # 2 told the Italian guys in Howth once that their pesto was alright but not as good as mine.

So, recipe.  
You'll need:

4 ripe pears, peeled and halved (you can use really good quality tinned pears).
110g Blue Cheese
1 pasty case, baked blind (you can buy ready made shortcrust pastry - I do).
2 smoked chicken breasts, sliced length ways (I use ordinary cooked chicken if I can't get smoked chicken which is nearly every time!)
1 dessertspoon chopped tarragon
Custard 1 or 2 (don't panic, recipe for both custards under all of this).
8 halved pecans

Then you:

Preheat the oven to 150c and eat one of the pear halves.  Spoon a little of the blue cheese into each hollow in the remaining seven pear halves.  Lay the pears in the pastry crust, cut side down, with one in the centre.  Intersperse with the smoked chicken.

Stir the tarragon into the custard and pour into the shell.  Cook in the preheated oven for 25 minutes.  Remove, put the pecans on top, with two in the centre and return to the oven for a further 20 minutes, or until set.

Custard 1
350ml cream.
3 eggs plus 2 extra yolks.

Custard 2
175ml cream
175ml milk
5 eggs plus 2 extra yolks.

Basically, you mix your ingredients together and you have the liquid filling for the quiche.  The second custard recipe above is a little less rich in that it uses less cream but it is more eggy than the first.  I prefer the first.  Less egg, more cream I say.

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