It's easy to grow good garlic in Tasmania. The winter provides plenty of chilly nights resulting in those prized fat purple heads. Yesterday I sowed next year's garlic crop. About sixty cloves that should, by Christmas all going well, turn into sixty fat heads of purple garlic.
Although we're not self sufficient in much food wise, roosters and garlic we never have to buy. We always manage to grow enough to eat for most of the year, along with saving enough cloves to sow for the following season.
It's about this time of year however, when the stored garlic starts to sprout. The cloves go soft and start to dry out and they don't make very good eating. I have to regularly pick through the basket and cook up, or sow any with green shoots emerging. The stores are still on track though to have enough to last until spring, then we can start picking the green flower stalks or scapes that will have grown from the cloves sown this week.
This tart is based on the recipe from Yotam Ottelnghi's book Plenty. I've edited it slightly in the spirit of thriftiness, and using three whole heads of garlic, it's a delicious way to use up those sprouting cloves.
Caramelised Garlic Tart
1 sheet of puff pastry - although I made my own rough puff based on this recipe
3 whole heads of garlic, cloves separated and peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 cup of water
100g goats cheese
1/2 cup creme fraiche
1/2 cup of pure cream
A few sprigs of thyme
Line a 20cm loose bottom tart tin with puff pastry and blind bake in a moderate oven for 10-15 minutes or until pastry is golden. Remove from oven and set aside, but leave the oven on.
Meanwhile, put the cloves in a small saucepan and cover with plenty of water. Bring to a boil and blanch the garlic cloves for about 3 minutes, then drain and dry off cloves. Dry the saucepan and pop the cloves back in with the olive oil and heat over medium heat for a few minutes until garlic starts to colour.
Add balsamic and water, increase heat to high then once boiling, reduce to a simmer. Cook at a gentle simmer for around 10 - 15 minutes, then add thyme, sugar and a pinch of salt and continue to simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated and the cloves are coated in a thick syrup. Remove from heat and allow to cool a little.
To assemble the tart, crumble goats cheese evenly over the base of the tart shell. Then spoon cloves and syrup over the cheese.
Make a custard by beating the eggs, creme fraiche and cream together adding a little salt and pepper in a small jug and pour over tart filling, making sure the custard fills in any gaps. You still want to see garlic and cheese poking up through the custard.
Bake tart in the oven for about 35 - 40 minutes or until top is golden and custard is firm.
Allow to cool a little, and serve warm.