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Sambocade Elderflower Cream Cheese Tart

This is an unusual tart which can be baked all year round using elderflower cordial, but it is best to use fresh elderflowers when available (in June and July). It is a variation of a cheese tart using fresh or stale breadcrumbs. Elderflowers have strong medicinal credentials and were used by witches in medieval England. Traditionally, the flowers were infused into wine, cordials and vinegars and were also used in elderflower fritters, now reappearing on modern restaurant menus. As well as being an interesting pudding tart, this tart can be eaten outside set mealtimes with a glass of elderflower wine or champagne.

ingredients

serves 8
225 g (8 oz) rich sweet shortcrust pastry
4 eggs, separated
115 g (4 oz) caster sugar
350 g (12 oz) cream cheese
85 g (3 oz) fresh breadcrumbs
3 - 4 clusters of fresh elderflowers or 1 tablespoon elderflower cordial, plus a few clusters of flowers for decoration (if in season)

method

1. Line a deep 23cm (9 in) tart tin with the pastry and pre-bake or bake blind. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4.

2. In a bowl, cream together the egg yolks and sugar until almost white and shiny, then gradually add the cream cheese, beating well after each addition until well blended. Stir in the breadcrumbs and set aside.

3. Prepare the freshly picked elderflowers by forking the flowers off the stems. Stir the flowers or cordial into the cheese mixture.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until shiny and stiff, then fold these into the cheesy mixture. Spoon into the pre-baked pastry case. Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes or until golden brown.

5. SERVE warm or at room temperature with cream or creme fraiche.

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