Donal Skehan

Potato Cheese & Onion Tart

O'Donnells Potato Tart-1 copy

This simple but very tasty tart makes an elegant dinner party starter served with some lightly dressed bitter leaf salad. This savoury tart is a wonderful way to celebrate a mature Cheddar cheese and pared with the caramelised onions is a match made in heaven!

Serves 6–8
1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
350g waxy potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 large onion, thinly sliced
150g mature Cheddar cheese, grated
1⁄2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
200ml cream
3 large free-range eggs
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

For the shortcrust pastry
:
200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
100g butter, very cold and cut into cubes, plus extra for greasing
2 tablespoon ice-cold water
sea salt and ground black pepper
lightly dressed bitter leaf salad, to serve

For the pastry, put the flour and butter into a mixing bowl and, using your fingertips, lightly rub them together until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the cold water a little at a time and incorporate with a spoon. When the dough comes together, turn out onto a clean work surface and knead lightly just until it forms a ball. Press into a flat circle, wrap in cling film and allow to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Grease a 23cm pie dish, 4cm in depth (capacity 1.2 litres), and dust with flour. Roll out the dough into a circle on a clean, floured work surface, to about 5mm thick. Transfer the rolled-out pastry to the tin and gently press it into all the sides. Roughly trim off most of the excess but leave some all round the edge of the tin to allow for shrinking. Don’t panic if the pastry breaks at all, just press it together with your fingers and repair any cracks with a little of the trimmed pastry. Chill in the fridge for 10–15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180C. Prick the pastry base with a fork, line with some scrunched-up greaseproof paper and pour in baking beans or dried pulses. Place in the oven for 15 minutes, then remove the greaseproof paper and beans and cook for a further 5 minutes until lightly golden. Remove from the oven, trim off the remaining excess pastry and set aside on a wire cooling rack.

Meanwhile, place a large frying pan over a high heat, add the oil and fry the potatoes and onion for 20–25 minutes until tender, stirring regularly to ensure they don’t stick. Mix through the cheese and thyme and arrange on the base of the pastry case. Whisk together the cream and eggs, season with nutmeg, sea salt and ground black pepper. Pour this over the potatoes, making sure it gets into all the nooks and crannies. Place the tart in the oven to cook for about 20 minutes, until golden on top and set. Leave to cool at room temperature for 15 minutes, then cut into slices and arrange on plates with the bitter leaf salad to serve.

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Chocolate Orange Tart

Co Couture Tart-1 copy

This decadent and delicious chocolate orange tart is perfect for a dinner party dessert. Serve up generous slices on its own or with a scoop of good quality vanilla ice cream and cups of coffee!

Serves 6-8

For the chocolate pastry:

125g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
75g cold butter, diced and chilled
25g caster sugar
25g cocoa powder, sifted (good quality)
1 large egg, beaten

For the filling:

240ml cream
200g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), finely chopped
75g caster sugar
2 tbsp Grand Marnier or Cointreau (orange liqueur)
edible gold powder, to decorate (optional) or some orange zest

To make the pastry, rub the flour and butter together in a bowl with your fingertips until the mixture resembles rough breadcrumbs. Stir through the cocoa powder, sugar and a little beaten egg until the mix comes together to form a ball. Press it into a flat oval, cover with cling film and place in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180C. Dust a work surface with a little flour and roll out the pastry to 3mm in thickness and large enough to fit a 20cm diameter, 4cm deep fluted tart tin with a removable base. Line the tin with the pastry and press it into the sides before trimming the edges. As you line the tin, if the pastry crumbles, don’t panic, just patch it together. Prick the base with a fork all over and line with foil, shiny side down, and fill with baking beans. Place the pastry shell in the oven to blind bake for about 15 minutes until the pastry looks dry. Remove the tin from the oven, lift out the foil and beans and cook for a further 6–8 minutes until cooked through. Remove the tin from the oven again and allow it to cool on a wire rack.

Prepare the filling by placing all the ingredients in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Mix until smooth and then pour into the cooled pastry case. Allow to set in the fridge for 1 hour, before dusting with gold powder, if using or garnish with the orange zest, and serve cut into in generous slices on plates.

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Potato, Cheese & Thyme Tart

Cheese and Potato Tart_3

This simple but very tasty tart makes an elegant dinner party starter served with some lightly dressed winter leaves. This savoury tart is a wonderful way to use up any last pieces of cheese you might have in the fridge so it’s up to you what you use. A good Irish cheese like Durrus works well here but you could push the flavour even further by using a blue cheese like Young Buck or Bellingham Blue.

Serves 6–8
For the shortcrust pastry
200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
100g butter, very cold and cut into cubes, plus extra for greasing
2 tablespoon ice-cold water
1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
400g waxy potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced
150g cheese, grated or crumbled
1⁄2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
200ml cream
3 large free-range eggs
Pinch of nutmeg
Sea salt and ground black pepper

Put the flour and butter into a mixing bowl and, using your fingertips, lightly rub them together until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the cold water a little at a time and incorporate with a spoon. When the dough comes together, turn out onto a clean work surface and knead lightly just until it forms a ball. Press into a flat circle, wrap in cling film and allow to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Grease a 23cm (8in) pie dish, 4cm (11⁄2 in) in depth (capacity 1.2 litres /2 pints), and dust with flour. Roll out the dough into a circle on a clean, floured work surface, to about 5mm (1⁄4in) thick. Transfer the rolled-out pastry to the tin and gently press it into all the sides. Roughly trim off most of the excess but leave some all round the edge of the tin to allow for shrinking. Don’t panic if the pastry breaks at all, just press it together with your fingers and repair any cracks with a little of the trimmed pastry. Chill in the fridge for 10–15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), Gas Mark 4. Prick the pastry base with a fork, line with some scrunched-up greaseproof paper and pour in baking beans or dried pulses. Place in the oven for 15 minutes, then remove the greaseproof paper and beans and cook for a further 5 minutes until lightly golden. Remove from the oven, trim off the remaining excess pastry and set aside on a wire cooling rack. Meanwhile, place a large frying pan over a high heat, add the oil and fry the potatoes and onion for 20–25 minutes until tender, stirring regularly to ensure they don’t stick. Mix through the cheese and thyme and arrange on the base of the pastry case. Whisk together the cream and eggs, season with nutmeg, sea salt and ground black pepper. Pour this over the potatoes, making sure it gets into all the nooks and crannies. Place the tart in the oven to cook for about 20 minutes, until golden on top and set.

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