August 17, 2013

Potato & Blue Cheese Tart

Sitting round a table is so important. It's where we teach our children the manners they need to get along in society. We teach them how to share. To take turns. To argue without fighting and insulting other people. They learn the art of adult conversation. The family meal is the nursery of democracy.
Michael Pollan

Baby New Potato & Blue Cheese tart

Family meal. I am not the one who should give an advice on that, because family meal I used to have as a child could be described in three following words: rare, in a way clumsy, and with a strong sense of individuality.

I haven't ever liked meat. My dad hasn't ever liked greens and other super-healthy stuff. Whereas my mom was desperately trying to adjust to both of our taste extremities. So here we were, sitting behind a communal table but feeling so very much on our own - me with a plate full of fresh vegetables, crunchy grains and a few generous crumbles of cheese on top, my dad smiling at his fat stake or a pile of meatballs alongside a lonely couple of cucumber slices, and my mom bonding our nearly incompatible worlds together by having a single meatball (from his side of the table)  and a generous scoop of veggies (from mine).

And probably due to those severe differences in our eating habits as well as in our approach towards food, we did not do a lot family cooking together. We cooked on our own, and ate on our own. Well, unless there was a cake that could be enjoyed collectively. Yes, cake! It was probably that one thing that could immediately unite us letting all three of us unanimously dive into the very same taste experience. Chocolate, caramel or fruity. Creamy and sinfully rich or light and perfectly refreshing - no matter how it was, it was always something that could bond those three individual eaters together. At least for that short moment, until our plates were empty and the craving for sweetness perfectly satisfied.

Baby New Potato & Blue Cheese tart

Well, at least there was a cake. But I wish there was more than that. I wish there were more Saturday dinners and Sunday brunches, filled with great food and a feeling of sharing. I wish there were simply more family meals. 

But the truth is, there are not many families out there that would maintain the same philosophy of food and eating inside. We all have our own likes and dislikes, our own preferences and things that we simply reject that come from the weirdest parts of our life stories. And the only thing that one can do about it is just to find a dish that would suit everyone. A dish that would incorporate all those different identities and in that way represent the whole family.

Take this cheesy potato tart, for example. I could surely make it my family meal, since potatoes, as part of a vegetable family, are not only suitable for veggie-eaters, but they are just as good when accompanied with a few bits of meat. Besides, the wholegrain crust, that might not be even noticed by a hearty eater, gives a great value of nutrients for a health-obsessed mouth. To make it gluten free, you might just need to change wheat flour into oat or buckwheat flour.

The only thing I would have to keep in mind when preparing this dish for my parents is that my Dad simply dislikes any kind of moldy cheese. "No problem", said she, and substituted it with delicious Gouda or sharp cheddar!

Yes, this dish is very adaptable!

Baby New Potato & Blue Cheese tart

Baby New Potato and Blue Cheese Tart
adapted from Smitten Kitchen

for tart shell:
120 g (1 cup) whole-wheat flour
1 Tbsp potato starch
1/4 tsp salt
85 g (3 oz) butter, diced
1 egg
2-3 Tbsp water

for filling:
500 g (1 lb) baby new potatoes, washed thoroughly and cut into 1/2 cm (1/4-inch) slices
240 ml (1 cup) cream (I used 10 % fat, but 36 % whipping cream would work as well)
1 large egg yolk
120 g (4 oz) blue cheese, crumbled
1 Tbsp fresh oregano

To make the tart shell, in a medium bowl combine flour, starch, and salt. Transfer the mixture onto a clean and dry counter and using large knife cut in the butter until you get only very small bites of it (you can also use a food processor for that). Crack in the egg and start kneading the dough with your hands. Add water, 1 Tbsp at a time just until the dough comes together and gets wet enough for you to roll it.
Roll the dough on a counter and place it in one big 9-inch side tart pan, or 3 smaller ones 3-inch size pans. Press it to the sides to remove any air bubbles, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
To make the tart, preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F) temperature.
Put potato slices into the medium saucepan, cover with water by 5 cm (2 inches), and simmer uncovered until vegetables become lightly tender (but not too tender; they should not break when you take them out), about 10 minutes.
When potatoes are done, drain them and arrange on the refrigerated pastry shell. Sprinkle with crumbled blue cheese.
Whisk cream and egg yolk together. Season with salt and pepper, and pour into the tart shell all over the arranged potatoes. Sprinkle with fresh oregano. Bake for about 45-50 minutes.

Baby New Potato & Blue Cheese tart
Pumpkin season is coming, so if you liked this idea, you might also want to try Pumpkin and Feta Tart.


  1. I wonder if someone has figured out a vegan version...

    1. I haven't tried to make it vegan, but you might try substituting the butter with vegetable shortening, milk and cream - with soy milk and vegan cream. Just I am not sure what would work instead the blue cheese, though I know that there is a vegan version of Stilton. That might do the job :)