Photo: From Pastry by Richard Bertinet
This beautiful tart with creamy, soft filling is from the french “Pastry” cookbook by Richard Bertinet. The book is an amazing reference for anyone wanting to learn the art of pastry and comes with step by step details of any pastry you would ever need to make. It is my constant reference for salted and sweet pastries, and it has never failed me. This Chicken and Tarragon Tart is just the perfect example of a delicious savoury pie with the most delicious crispy pastry. The filling is heavenly with the beautiful addition of French Tarragon.
French Tarragon is one of a few herbs which form the mainstay of French cuisine which is well known as Les Fines Herbes. Les Fines Herbes comprisese of tarragon, chervil, parsley, chives and thyme. For years I have searched Herb farms and nurseries in my area, for this delicious herb, and was only able to get a small plant last year. I have been pampering and nurturning it every since. Its delicate mild aniseed and licorice aroma and taste adds a wonderful bittersweet flavour to this delicious pie. It is also a common ingredient in hollandaise, Béarnaise and tartar sauces, Dijon mustard, Montpellier butter and vinaigrettes.
If you half the filling ingredients for this pie it is perfect for four people, but you must make the full quantity of pastry. Richard uses a Semolina pastry but I have just used his salted pastry recipe. You can substitute half of the plain flour with semolina, or polenta.
This recipe is from the "Pastry" cookbook by Richard Bertinet
Makes 1 large 26cm tart (4cm deep)
- 250 g plain flour
- 5 g (1 tsp) salt
- 125 g cold butter
- 1 egg
- 35 g cold water
Preheat oven to 190ºF .
I make my dough in a food processor, but be careful not to overwork it.
Place the flour and salt into the bowl of the processor, and add the cold butter cut into small squares.
Using the pulse button, blitz the mixture in short bursts so that the flour just lifts and mixes.
Add the egg and water and blitz quickly just until it comes together.
Turn it out onto a board and work it together to form a solid dough.
Wrap it in greaseproof paper (not clingfilm as this will make it wet) and leave the dough to rest in a fridge for at least an hour. You can leave it overnight if you wish. The reason you keep it in the fridge is to help the gluten in the flour to relax so that the pastry becomes more elastic and easier to roll. it also prevents shrinkage later when it goes into the oven.
Roll the pastry out on a floured surface and line your greased chosen tart pan with the pastry. Press it in and leave excess pastry over the edge of the pan. Prick the bottom of the pastry with a fork.
Place greaseproof paper over the pastry and cover with baking beans in order to bake blind . Cook for 20 minutes
Take the tart out of the oven, remove the greaseproof paper and beans and brush the entire tart with an egg wash ( 1 egg whisked up a bit). Return the tart to the oven for a further 10 minutes. This lets the pastry cook more and the egg wash forms a waterproof layer on the pastry so that when you put the filling in, it does not soak into the pastry.
This recipe is from the cookbook by Richard Bertinet "Pastry"
I halved the filling ingredients for a smaller pie.
- 100 g butter
- 100 g flour
- 1 litre milk
- 4 egg yolks
- 50 g emmenthal cheese, chopped
- 30 g parmesan cheese, grated
- 500 g chicken meat, poached or taken off the carcus of a roast chicken
- 2 Tblsp olive oil
- 250 g tiny button mushrooms, or larger ones chopped
- 2 Tblsp french Tarragon, chopped
- 1 Tblsp parsley, chopped
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- salt and pepper to taste
- Dash of nutmeg powder to taste
Reduce the oven heat to 180ºF.
To make the filling melt the butter in a pan and add the flour, cook for 1 minute, whisking all the time.
Add the milk gradually, whisking until the mixture boils and thickens. Lower the heat to a simmer and let the mixture cook, whisking all the time. About a minute.
Whisk in the egg yolks, cheeses and mustard, and season to taste with the salt and pepper, and nutmeg. Take off the heat and allow to cool.
I like to poach my chicken (skinless breasts or thighs) in a little water with a bay leaf and a few peppercorns. You can fry or grill it if you prefer, but I find the chicken is more tender and white when poached . Shread or chop the chicken up into small pieces.
Fry the button mushrooms gently in the olive oil for a few minutes until soft and slightly golden.(chopped in half if small and chopped into smaller pieces if using bigger mushrooms).
Add the chopped chicken and mushrooms to the sauce together with the chopped French Tarragon and Parsley.
Pour this mixture onto the baked pastry and return to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until the filling is golden and just set if you wobble the tray.
Eat while it is warm and runny or serve at room temperature with a green salad.