White Bean & Spinach Tarts With a Nut Crust
No pastry here, just a sticky crumb made by whizzing nuts with a little butter and egg. Rather than rolling the crust, press it into the tin and smooth it down using damp fingers before baking blind. The soft, beany filling sits well within the nutty crust, but be sure to drizzle over good-quality olive oil before serving.
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 40 minutes
For the tart crust
125g hazelnuts, skin on
125g whole blanched almonds
1 tsp dukkah (try seaweedproducts.ie or evergreen.ie)
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing
1 medium egg
For the filling
100g young-leaf spinach
400g tin white beans, such as cannellini
2 tbsp crème fraîche
1 medium egg, beaten
1 garlic clove, crushed
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4. For the crust, put the hazelnuts, almonds, dukkah, oil and egg into a food processor and process, scraping down the sides occasionally, for 3-4 minutes until the mixture is fine and comes together. Press into four lightly greased 10cm loose-bottomed tart tins, pushing the crust up the sides to create an edge. Try to get the crust to the thickness of a pound coin (about 0.25cm). Refrigerate for 20 minutes, then prick the bases with a fork. Place on a large baking sheet and cook for 15 minutes, or until lightly golden and domed. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, make the filling. Wilt the spinach by placing the leaves in a sieve or colander. Pour over boiling water, about 1 litre, until the leaves wane. Squeeze any excess water from them, then roughly chop. Whizz the beans using a handheld blender or food processor and once smooth, combine with the crème fraîche, egg and garlic. Stir through the chopped spinach. Season the mixture and dollop into the cooled tart cases.
Return to the oven for a further 20-25 minutes until the filling has only just set. Remove before you see any cracks appear. Allow to cool slightly, then remove the tarts from the tins. Serve with fresh green leaves.
Extracted from On the Pulse by Georgina Fuggle (Kyle Books, approx €20). Photography by Ali Allen.