From a very young age, one of Neven's favourite pastimes was to shadow his mother in the kitchen, watching her cook; his pastime soon became ...
a little egg wash, for brushing
150 ml cream
150 ml milk
2 tblsp sweet chilli sauce
2 egg yolks
1 tblsp finely snipped fresh chives
200 g smoked salmon (cut into strips)
200 g white crab meat
100 g freshly grated parmesan
for the pastry:
225 g plain flour (plus extra for dusting)
100 g chilled butter
pinch dried chilli flakes
3 tblsp ice-cold water
for the sauce:
300 ml cream
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp dijon mustard
50 g butter (diced)
1 tblsp finely snipped chives
salt and freshly ground black pepper
crisp garden salad, to serve
You can make the pastry case for the tart up to 24 hours in advance, but if you're short of time use shop-bought pastry or a ready-made pastry case instead. I often make double the quantity of pastry and make two pastry cases. Shove one in the freezer and then you can just defrost as needed. If you find you've any pastry leftover use to make baby quiches or cheese straws.
Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6). To make the pastry, place the flour, butter and chilli flakes in a food processor. Add half a teaspoon of salt and whizz briefly until the mixture forms fine crumbs. Pour in the water through the feeder tube and pulse again so that the pastry comes together. Knead lightly on a lightly floured surface for a few seconds to give a smooth dough. Wrap in clingfim and chill for at least 10 minutes before rolling (or up to an hour if time allows).
Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and use to line a loose-bottomed 21cm (8.5 inch) fluted flan tin that is about 4cm (1.5 inches) deep. Use a rolling pin to lift the pastry into the tin, pressing well into sides and letting the pastry overhang a little as this prevents shrinkage. Chill for another 10 minutes for the pastry to rest.
Prick the pastry base with a fork, then line with a circle of oiled foil or non-stick parchment paper that is first crumpled up to make it easier to handle. Fill with baking beans or dried pulses and bake for 10 minutes until the pastry case looks 'set', but not coloured. Carefully remove the foil or paper and lower the temperature to 160°C (325°F/Gas 3), then brush with the egg wash to form a seal. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes or until the base is firm to the touch and the sides are lightly coloured.
Beat together the cream in a bowl with the milk, chilli sauce, eggs and egg yolks until well combined. Stir in the chives and season to taste. Scatter the smoked salmon and crabmeat in the bottom of the pastry case and sprinkle the Parmesan on top, then pour in the cream mixture and bake for about 25 minutes until the filling is just set but still slightly wobbly in the middle. Leave to rest for 5 minutes in the tin, then remove and carefully trim down the excess pastry, working the knife away from you and the tart.
Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Warm the cream over a gentle heat until just coming to the boil. Add the lemon zest and juice and Dijon mustard and simmer gently for about 5 minutes until thickened slightly. Whisk in the butter until completely melted and the sauce has thickened further. Season to taste and keep warm. Stir in the chives last minute when ready to serve.
To serve, carefully cut the smoked salmon and crab tart into slices. Arrange on plates and drizzle a little of the sauce around. Serve with the crisp garden salad.