The English Student Cooks: Broccoli and Ricotta Tart

I’m currently cooking my way through Mary Berry’s Complete Cook Book, which the Pragmatist gave/lent to me when I moved out for my first full-time job. I wanted to document the experience as a kind of cooking diary, and so “The English Student Cooks” was born. This will be an irregular feature, as I only cook when I’m home on my days off, which is Not That Often.

Broccoli and Ricotta Tart

Method: I cut up some broccoli into little florets and diced up the stalks (which I have never bothered to do before – life is too short) and boiled the whole lot for one minute, and drained it, etc. Then I mixed 250g of ricotta, 125g of non-fat cottage cheese (because I failed to buy enough ricotta earlier on in the day and non-fat cottage cheese was all Tesco Express could sell me at 6:30pm on a Sunday), 125g of grated Cheddar, 60g (or thereabouts) grated Parmesan, two eggs, two cloves of garlic and some thyme together in a bowl. Finally I grated down about six slices of wholemeal bread to make breadcrumbs and stirred them into about 75g melted butter. I lined my special quiche tin with three-quarters of the breadcrumbs to make a kind of crust, dolloped some of the cheese mixture in, remembered I was supposed to stir the broccoli stalks into the cheese mixture, did so, and dolloped the rest of it – Now With Added Broccoli Stalk! – into the tin. On top of that went the rest of the breadcrumbs and then the broccoli florets, “arranged” in my signature abstract style, otherwise known as the “Just Cram Them All On” school of culinary arranging. The tin went in the oven for 40 minutes.

Substitutions/alterations: I think the tin I used was smaller than the one Mary specified, but in truth I have no idea because the Circumlocutor seems to have reclaimed his measuring tape.

Verdict: Like many of Mary’s Eggs and Cheese dishes, this was very, very rich; also I had trouble getting it out of the tin as I didn’t really trust the crust to stand up on its own. It ended up being scooped oh-so-elegantly out with a serving spoon. I did really enjoy the thyme, though, which gives the egg-and-cheese decadence a slightly more grown-up edge. This should be served in very small portions; I’m not sure I’d make it again though.


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