This recipe by Laura Pope is a real show-stopper. Comté works beautifully with so many different flavours, but what often surprises people is how delicious it is paired with something sweet. The tart sweetness of plum and cherry contrasts so well with the creamy nuttiness of the Comté. As Laura says, “it’s truly a match made in heaven − or, to be precise, France!”.
For the pastry
- 180g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 100g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 50g Comté (18-24 month+), finely grated
- 1 free range egg yolk
- 3 to 4 teaspoons chilled water (you may find you need more or less, depending on the weather and various other factors on the day)
For the filling
- 4 ripe plums, stone removed and sliced
- 100g Comté (18-24 month+), finely sliced
For the glaze
- 150g cherry jam
1Preheat the oven to 180℃ normal / 160℃ fan.
2For the pastry, sieve the flour into a mixing bowl. Add the butter and grated Comté and rub into the flour using your fingertips and a light touch until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
3Add the egg yolk and the water and mix using a cutlery knife to form a firm dough. Wrap the dough in cling film and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
4On a floured surface, roll out the pastry so it is the thickness of a £1 coin. Line 4 tartlet tins with removable bases (mine have fluted edges and are 8cm wide at the base) with the pastry, then place a circle of baking paper over the pastry (I scrunch it up first to soften it) and fill with baking beans, making sure the edges of the paper hang over the edges of the pastry so it doesn’t burn. (You’ll probably have pastry to spare, but I prefer to work with extra as pastry becomes very tough the more you handle it and roll it out, so I’d rather discard the excess than try to make it stretch. You can make the excess pastry to cheese biscuits: roll it into a log, chill it in the fridge and slice it into discs 1cm thick. Lay these onto a lined baking tray and cook in the oven until golden brown, then transfer to a wire rack to cool).
5Transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the beans and paper and return the tart cases to the oven for 5 minutes.
6Remove the tart cases from the oven and leave them to cool, then carefully remove the tartlets from their cases and lay on a baking tray.
7For the cherry glaze, put the jam into a small saucepan and heat gently over a low heat until the jam has melted, without letting it boil. It should be the consistency of runny honey – if it’s too thick, you can thin it with a teaspoon or two of warm water until the glaze coats a pastry brush evenly (some jam will not need any water added and some might need more, but take care as too much water will thin the jam too much and it will not coat the fruit properly). Sieve the jam, discarding the fruit and brush the glaze over the base of each tart case.
8Lay alternating slices of plum and Comté around the tartlets. Bake the tartlets for 10 minutes, then remove from oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool and set.
9Return the cherry glaze to a clean pan and gently warm it (but you don’t want it to be hot), and dab it generously over the top of the plums and Comté (dabbing is best, rather than brushing or using strokes – this will give a much more even finish).
Recipe developed by Laura Pope for www.comtecheese.co.uk