Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Lille Tarte Maroilles (cheese tart)

enjoying Veuve Cliquot with my friend Gwenaelle,
who first introduced me to the tarte Maroilles
When I was in Paris, one of my French friends invited me to a dinner party at her apartment overlooking the Cathedral of St. Vincent et Paul. It was a lovely evening all around, but I particularly remember the tart that she made. Maroilles cheese, local to Lille, has a tremendous scent raw, but once cooked topped with a breaded crust, it mellows out into a delicious flavor. Heavenly.



I made this tart for my friend Danielle
in Bethesda!
I'd given up all hope of making this tart on my own (where does one find Maroilles cheese in America, anyway?), until I visited the farmer's market in Bethesda, MD with a friend. We stopped over at the cheese stall, and tried a few varieties. When I confessed my passion for creamy cheeses (a French triple creme named delice de nostalgie is still a favorite - more commonly found as delice de Bourgogne), the shop keeper had us try their creamy cow's milk cheese... which totally resembled a Maroilles. While not quite as strong, the scent and flavor were the closest I've found to this unique cheese. So I bought some and tried out a tart. It was, though not quite what my Lille friend made... delicious!

Tarte Maroilles (adapted from BBC)

Ingredients
2/3 cup warm milk
1 packet (7 grams) of yeast (I used easy rise)
look at the cheese dripping down! yum!
2 tsp sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 lb of stinky cow cheese (Maroilles, preferably, or a strong brie can suit, though the flavor will not be as strong), cubed (be sure to remove the rind as well)
2 eggs
1 200 ml container of creme fraiche (sour cream or Greek yogurt will do in a pinch; even though it belongs in the dairy section near the sour cream, you can often find this in the specialty cheese section at your grocer)

Directions
fresh out of the oven! 
1. Whisk warm milk, yeast, and sugar together.
2. Beat egg and add it to the mixture.
3. Add the flour, and stir until dough comes together.
4. Knead dough on a floured surface for about 5 minutes.
5. Place dough in bowl and leave covered for an hour to rise (I still find the results so cool!)
6. Preheat oven to 375.
7. Roll out dough until 1/2" thick and place in a greased circular pie pan (or square if you prefer).
8. Thoroughly mix the cubed cheese, 1 beaten egg, the nutmeg and the creme fraiche (or replacement) in a bowl. You might season as well with salt and pepper and herbs de provence.
9. Top the dough layer with the cheese layer.
10. Bake for 30 minutes and serve warm.

we enjoyed the leftovers with a simple salad.

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