Maison Bertaux, the pâtisserie on Greek Street, is possibly the only survivor of all the French businesses in Soho. Opened in 1871, it is owned today by
In a food processor work the butter and flour for a few seconds until they have the texture of breadcrumbs. Beat the milk and egg together with the salt and quickly work into the dough, still in the food processor. Form this pastry into a fat cylinder, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Elsewhere I’ve been very dismissive of baking blind but unfortunately it is essential for this recipe. However, the forgiving nature of this pastry makes the job simpler.
Put the milk on to warm but do not allow to boil. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over a medium flame, add the flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring continually with a wooden spoon. Gradually add the hot milk, still stirring all the time. Cook over a low heat for a few minutes, stirring continuously. The mixture will thicken alarmingly and start to form a smooth clump around your spoon, coming away cleanly from the sides of the pan.
Remove from the heat and immediately beat in the eggs, one by one. Add the cheeses, mix well and check the seasoning. This cheesy choux paste can be made in advance, and indeed will survive several days in the fridge, relatively unscathed.
This tart emerges from the oven risen like a soufflé. Obviously, this is the best time to serve, although cutting slices will be a little difficult. When the tart cools, the risen parts will sink considerably but it will still taste wonderful.
© 1999 Alastair Little. All rights reserved.