Saturday 30 March 2013

Gruyere & Nettle Tart

I think placing a batch of brioche dough into the fridge, last thing before I go to bed, must somehow trigger an internal alarm so that at 4.30 I automatically wake up to take the dough out of the fridge, divide it up into brioche and return to bed, leaving them to rise until 9.0 when I shall bake them for breakfast.
This morning, while the heat exchange between me and the hot water bottle I was clutching was still just about working in my favour, I noted the time and went back to sleep. The reason for the lie in is last night's batch of brioche dough is to be made into a savoury tart.
My patch of nettles looks rather pathetic; it was covered in snow just a couple of days ago despite this being the very end of March. I was still able to pick enough to flavour this tart. I love the juxtaposition of the lowly but worthwhile nettle and the ultimate decadence of brioche dough, rich with both eggs and butter. Click here for the Brioche recipe

Welcome Jordan, country number 88.

For this tart you will need,
1/2 batch of brioche dough (the rest will freeze really well, or you can use it to make 6 brioche)
Nettle tips, 80g weight after they have been blanched and all the liquid squeezed out.
80g of sliced spring onions
2 fat cloves of garlic finely chopped
130g of grated gruyere cheese
130g of cream cheese
1 egg
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon of chopped lemon thyme
1 teaspoon of marigold Bouillon powder or 1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg

Begin by blanching the nettles. Having carefully picked the youngest tips of nettles from a reliably clean area, plunge them into a litre of boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and squeeze the liquid out, and roughly chop. Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the spring onions and garlic, sweat on a low heat for 3 to 4 minutes before adding the nettles, pepper and nutmeg and 50ml of water. Cover and cook until all the mix is dry, this should take no more than 5 minutes, keep an eye on it and stir from time to time. In a bowl mix the grated gruyere with the cream cheese, egg, bouilon powder and lemon thyme, finally add the nettle mixture and stir in to combine. The heat of the nettles will slacken the cheese and egg mixture making it easier to pour onto the brioche dough base, leave to cool.
Prepare the tin; I use my tarte tatin dish for this, it measures 28cm by 5cm. lightly butter the tin and dust with flour. Roll out the piece of brioche dough to be 6cm wider than the tin and place the dough into the tin, rolling up the edge to form extra thickness. Press the edge down where the side meets the base and leave for a good 2 hours to fully rise. Heat the oven up to 200C, and just prior to placing the tart in the oven, flatten the base a little by dimpling with you fingers, gently pour the nettle and cheese mix onto the base of the tart and place in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes.The centre should still have a slight wobble when you bring it out of the oven. serve at room temperature.

Using brioche dough in this way, in place of pastry produces a tender alternative. 


  1. It looks so delicious! I drink nettle tea on occasion but have never cooked with it. Do you think rehydrated dried nettles might work here?

  2. Hello and thank you for your kind comment; I have to say I don't know whether or not dried nettles would work. I find the flavour of dried herbs differs from the original, in some cases such as basil, the flavour is quite different. It can certainly do no harm to try and I will be interested to hear how you get on. Happy baking, Tôbi

  3. What a really interesting recipe Tobi. Combining foraged food in a brioche tart base is really side left and something that I am going to have to test ASAP. I will try using a vegan tart recipe that I found today that looked amazing made with cashews. If I make it I will let you know how it goes :) Just got to get into town to get the cashews as they don't last long here ;)

  4. I'm glad you also appreciate the contrast of something foraged combined with something sumptuous. This tart, which I think would translate perfectly well with a vegan base of some sort was brilliant, the nettles add a savoury herb note which contrasts well with the nutty intense flavour of the gruyere. All this with the tender light brioche made it a dish I will look forward to making and enjoying again. I think an alternative to the nettles would be wild mushrooms, upping the anti on the garlic would be necessary though. Happy baking Tôbi


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