In actual fact, this tart isn't reliant upon sunny days. We've eaten it with potato wedges instead of salad in the middle of winter - and it was just as good.
However, in this instance, I served it with a Melon & Cucumber salad - the sweetness of the Canteloupe melon went so well with the salty bacon and blue cheese.
I've been making this dish for quite some time now and when I remembered it the other day, I looked back across the Recipe Index and was surprised to note that it wasn't there. Mind you, this was cause for some celebration because it meant that I could tick off another "bloggable" dish on the menu - one which I had done countless times before and was not only easy but reliable!
You might think that, being made with Filo pastry instead of shortcrust or puff, this might be a low-calorie, "good for you", healthy option. I have very great delight in putting you right where this is concerned and would quite categorically state that there is very little about it that is good for you - apart from being good for your soul. You will very definitely feel downright spoiled, indulged and maybe even a little bit naughty when eating this tart.
You see, fundamental in the creation of the filling is the use of 300g of your best, creamiest, rich and delicious Philadelphia cream cheese. Oh, don't suck your breath in like that - the wind might change and you'll stay looking like it. Yes, I know I could have used low fat Philadelphia - but why? This tart is supposed to be rich and delicious - and nothing but the full fat version will do. If you're so bothered about it, don't make it very often and don't eat a huge piece - but do make it, and do cut yourself a generous piece. Go on - you're worth it!
One word of warning as regards the ingredients though. The Rocket is absolutely essential. I can remember baking this tart once in the past when I had forgotten to buy some Rocket. "Oh, it can't make THAT much difference, surely!", I thought. Wrong. So wrong. This is one of those tart fillings that something magical happens to when it goes into the oven. One of those clever chemistry things. Now obviously, the eggs are there to bind it all - that's a given. However, the Rocket seems to act as some kind of subtle scaffolding that provides aeration as well as flavour. When you first start mixing it in, you don't think it's ever going to lay down and behave - but it does. Then, once it has baked, it emerges with no discernible Rocket. It's there, doing a valuable job, but quietly and in the background. The one time I tried to make the tart without it was an utter disaster as the filling was too rich, too thick, too claggy and just, well, too much of everything. So - don't be tempted to leave the Rocket out. I've tried it and it's not good.
One more thing - when you are shopping for ingredients and if you shop at Sainsbury's, do try their common or garden "English Blue Cheese" which is vaguely red coloured (not unlike Shropshire Blue) and completely unassuming. I picked some up purely because of its price (it was the cheapest blue cheese I could find - it was the end of the month and money was a little tight) and was surprised to find that it is actually very palatable indeed. Perhaps a little on the salty side - but knowing how salty some of the Danish blues can get, we can forgive it that. I think it did a sterling job at being crumbled on top of the tart - and is responsible for that deep yellowy orange hue.
If you're curious about the Melon & Cucumber salad, it was a simple matter of getting a bowl and putting into it some rocket, some Canteloupe melon balls (cubes would do fine, if you don't have a melon baller), some finely sliced cucumber that had been skinned and had its pips removed and several sliced cherry tomatoes. Once served onto the plate, I added a couple of marinated Sweetfire beetroot, which provided the zing! to the melon's sweetness and the saltiness of the tart. We didn't bother with a dressing, as the melon provided plenty of juice.
I like to think of it as a beautiful partnership. The incredibly unhealthily rich and delicious tart, paired up with a very healthy sweet and sour salad. Delicious.
BACON & BLUE CHEESE FILO TART (serves 4-5)
4 large sheets of filo pastry, cut in half to make 8 individual sheets
extra virgin olive oil
300g (or slightly less) of lean back bacon, diced
3-4 spring onions, sliced finely
300g tub soft cream cheese
2 large handfuls of rocket leaves
50g (approx) blue cheese
2 tbsp pine nuts.
1. Pre-heat oven to 180degC/350degF/Gas4.
2. Taking a spring form tin, lightly brush some oil around it. Then, brush the first sheet of filo pastry lightly with oil and lay it into the tin, sticking it to the oiled sides. Continue with the other sheets of pastry, brushing with oil and laying into the tin, until the tin is completely covered and the edges are stuck to the sides. These edges will be turned down and form the "crust".
3. Place the bacon pieces into a heated but dry frying pan and cook over a medium heat until any water has been removed and the bacon is just beginning to brown. Hopefully any fat should have rendered out by now.
4. Add the spring onion to the bacon pieces and continue to cook until the onion is wilted. Remove from the heat and set to one side to cool a little.
5. Taking a large bowl, add the cream cheese and crack in the eggs. Using a hand whisk mix lightly together until all the lumps are removed. Season with a good pinch of pepper but do not use any salt - the bacon will be salty enough.
6. Add the cooled bacon & onion mixture, leaving as much of the bacon fat in the pan as is possible. Add the rocket leaves and the pine nuts. I usually chop the pine nuts just a little before adding to the mixture. Stir until everything is combined, then pour into the filo pastry case.
7. Break the blue cheese into pieces and scatter them across the top of the filling mix.
8. Turn down the edges of the filo pastry neatly (I usually roll them), to form a crust around the edge of the filling.
9. Place into the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the centre of the tart is firm to touch.
10. Give the tart some 5-10 minutes to cool before turning it out and cutting.