A French quiche and a Swiss cheese tart are only superficially related. Both have pastry, cheese and a custard. But a quiche is really about the custard, whereas the Swiss tart is about cheese.
Swiss cheese tarts come in all sizes– but small is more fun. They aren’t crumbly. You can pick a little one up and eat it picnic-style. All alone, on small, pretty plates, little cheese tarts look cheerful.
These tarts are included in the Occaisional Menu: Brunch with Plums, Apricots and little Cheese Tarts. Their flavour becomes more pronounced as they cool and they are at their best at room temperature or refrigerated awhile and eaten cold. Making them the day before you want to eat them is no problem–in fact, it is all to the good.
Cheese Tarts ~ Swiss style (8 – 12 tarts)
- A package of puff pastry (either a large round or two narrow, rectangular sheets
- 8 ounces of grated cheese (one or any combination of Gruyere, Emmental, Appenzell)
- 1 cup of heavy cream
- 1 cup of milk
- 2 Tablespoons of flour
- 3 Eggs, beaten
- grated nutmeg
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- Butter for greasing tart pans
- Small tart pans, any size, with or without removable base, or an 11-inch quiche pan. The tarts in the photos are made in a combination of 3-inch and 4-inch size tart pans.
Preheat the oven to 400 F and butter the tart pans very well.
1. If you are using a large round of puff pastry, roll it out a little to increase the number of tart shells you can cut out of it before re-rolling it. Do the same if you are using rectangles.
2. Place a tart pan face down on the pastry and cut around it with a knife. The rounds should be bigger than the widest part of the pan, so that the edge of the pastry is a little higher than the rim of the tart pan when it is fitted into it:
3. Fit the pastry rounds into the pans. The pastry doesn’t need to be pressed in tightly, but the tarts will unmould more easily if the pastry comes up a little higher than the rim of the pan since the filling is less likely to spill over between the pan and pastry:
3. Divide the cheese among the shells:
4. Whisk together the cream, milk, eggs, and flour. Add a little salt and a few grinds of pepper. Grate a little nutmeg intor it and pour the mixture over the cheese in the shells:
5. Bake at 400 F. for about 20 minutes, or until the tarts are puffed and golden. (One large tart will be ready in about 30 minutes.):
6. Unmould the tarts while they are still warm, loosening them from the edges of the pans with a sharp knife.
7. The number of tarts this recipe will make depends on the size of your pans. This recipe doubles easily, as does the one for Swiss Plum Tart, and Swiss Apricot Tart–two other very good additions to the Occasional Menu: Brunch with Plums, Apricots and little Cheese Tarts.
For many years I have made Swiss cheese tarts, but reading A Taste of Switzerland improved them:
© Elizabeth Laeuchli, the diplomatickitchen, 2011