Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Ackee and bacon tart

Growing up in a Caribbean family, I was introduced to a range of exotic ingredients and flavours in cold and rainy Blighty. I suppose when you are young the food that you eat is the only food you know and it becomes the food you grow to love.  Ackee and saltfish is the national dish of Jamaica, and was a regular dish in my home. You may ask what is Ackee? Well it is a fruit that is cultivated in the Caribbean and Africa, but is commonly used in savoury cuisine. I also have tried other accompaniments to ackee, such as ackee and cabbage and ackee and bacon.  Throughout my teen years, I discovered quiches, tarts and flans and instantly fell in love. My ackee and bacon tart recipe combines a staple Caribbean ingredient, ackees with a favourite European bake, the tart. The ackees add a very distinctive, creamy flavour but not is overwhelming or overpowering in this tart. Ackees are widely available from all large supermarkets, so there is no excuse not to give this dish a try.   I served this tart for my evening meal, but it can also be served for breakfast, after all ackee (and salt fish) is the traditional breakfast dish in Jamaica. 
Here is how my ackee and bacon tart turned out:
Ackee and Bacon tart.

I served a slice of my ackee and bacon tart with avacodo and wedges.
Ackee and Bacon tart with chips.

This tart is super simple to make, especially if you use ready rolled shortcrust pastry.

Cook the red onion, and grill the bacon, then mix the eggs, mixed herbs, black pepper and creme fraiche.
Eggs, herbs and creme fraiche

Cheese added

Drain the ackee and add the bacon to the pastry, followed by the red onion.

Ackee added to the tart.

Onions added

Add the creme fraiche/egg mixture
Filling added to the tart.
Ackee and Bacon tart
Prep time 30-40 minutes
Cooking time 40 minutes
Number of servings 6

Ingredients and quantities for the pastry - you will need a rectangular tart tin.

For the shortcrust

250 g plain flour, plus extra for rolling out.125 g unsalted butter, chilled and diceda pinch of salt1 large egg yolk2-3 tbsp water, chilled.

For the filling.

pinch of salt

2 red onions
3 rashers of bacon
300g creme fraiche
3 eggs, lightly beaten
teaspoon mixed herbs
black pepper
1 tin of Jamaica Prides Ackee (available from larger Asda stores).
50g medium cheddar cheese.


 Rub the butter and flour together in a bowl until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and a pinch of salt and stir together with a spoon until the egg is in-cooperated with the flour. Rub the mixture into a ball and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up.  After 30 minutes remove the pastry mixture from the fridge and preheat the oven to gas mark 5. Leave the pastry  at room temperature for 5 minutes and then roll out in a rectangular shape on a floured surface. Place the pastry in the tart tin and place baking sheet and baking beans on top of the tart. Blind bake the pastry for 20 minutes. Meanwhile the pastry is baking, make the filling. Boil the kettle, slice the onions and place in a pan, add the boiling water to the pan and cook over a medium heat for around 7 minutes: the purpose is to blanch the onions to ensure that it is thoroughly cooked when placed in the tart. Grill three rashers of bacon in  a grill for 8 minutes, turn over half way through and tear into small pieces when cool. Place the eggs, mixed herbs, black pepper and creme fraiche in a mixing bowl and whisk. Grate the cheese and transfer half of the cheese to the egg and creme fraiche mixture. Open the tin of ackee, drain the water from the ackee and set aside. Once the pastry is blind baked, remove from the oven, add the bacon pieces to the tart, followed by the ackee and pour over the egg and creme fraiche mixture. Finally, sprinkle the remanding cheese on top of the tart. Place in the oven and bake for around 40 minutes or until the filling no longer wobbles.  Leave to rest for 5 minutes before serving. 

Enjoy xx 
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