French crab and shrimp tart with a frisee salad

This is fantastic crab tart and one you can make as rich and strong, or light and fresh as you like. It all depends on the quantity of white to brown crab meat. I don’t like it too strong, but without a bit of brown the depth of flavour is missing. I use a proportion of four to one, white to brown.

You can make one large tart of individual ones. These ingredients make enough for 12 people as a starter.


Savoury Tart Pastry

Turn the oven to 180C fan/200C. This is easier to handle and cook with than sweet, as it is the sugar in sweet, that makes is difficult. Again I would always make a large amount and freeze half. If you want to make it more savoury, you can add two teaspoons of fresh parmesan, very finely grated.

1 pack of unsalted butter (250g), room temperature, cut into cubes.

1 small pack plain flour (500g)

Pinch of salt

2 Medium Eggs

2-3 tbsp cold water

Put all the ingredients in a Magimix and blitz until it comes together into a ball. Turn it out and kneed it gently to ensure it has all come together properly- this should take no more than 30 seconds. Cut it into the quantities needed and freeze the rest, wrap in cling film and put the half you are using in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

The Cling Film Trick

Grease the tart dish with a little butter all round. Take cling film put it on a surface, make it larger than the tart dish double sided. Work the pastry a little in your hands to make it an even round. Put the pastry in the middle of the cling film. Put cling film on top, same size again. Then roll the pastry between the cling film. Don’t flour the cling film, this stops the trick working. Once it is to size (an inch larger than the dish all round), take off the top cling film. Put the middle of the pastry open side down in the tart dish and gently push it into the sides. There should be overhang of pastry all round (this is good). Take the cling film off the top of the pastry carefully and then fold the overhanging sides down. Check for any tears and fix them with extra pastry (cut off bits, etc.). Prick it round with a fork. Put it is the fridge for at least 20 minutes.

Bake it blind

Take the pastry out of the fridge, get some baking parchment and put it in the pastry and fill with baking beans. Bake it in the oven for 10 minutes (until the sides are beginning to colour light brown). Then take out the beans and bake for another 10 minutes until it is crisp. Then get an egg yolk and a dash of milk, mix together and paint onto the pastry. Bake for 2 minutes to seal the pastry. Finally, run a sharp knife around the top of the pastry at the flat with the edges of the tart dish. This gives a perfectly even edge and gives the kids the overhanging and very crispy pastry bits to eat in the meantime.

The Crab Tart Filling

1 Sweet Onion

3tbl unsalted butter

400g white crab meat

100g brown crab meat

50g peeled brown shrimp (optional)

Pinch of salt

4 tb Dry white vermouth

4 medium eggs

Half a pint of double cream

1 tbsp tomato puree

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

4 tbsp grated gruyere

Oven to 180C fan/200C.Gently fry the onion in butter until soft, add the crab and shimp (if using) and coat in the butter for a couple of minutes, add the vermouth and turn up the heat, boiling off a little of the liquid and all the alcohol. Let it cool a little. Mix the rest of the ingredients together, apart from the cheese, add the crab mixture to it and stir, pour the mixture into the tart case, sprinkle on the cheese and bake for 30 minutes or until golden. Serve, hot or cold, with frisee salad and a sharp dressing.

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