Cornish crab tartlet with Stichelton

  • Canapé
  • medium
  • Makes 24 tartlets
  • 50 minutes


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Shortcrust pastry

  • 250g of unsalted butter
  • 500g of flour
  • 50g of water
  • 5g of salt

Brown crab custard


Start by making the shortcrust pastry. Put the butter, salt and flour into a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix slowly until the flour and butter combine to look like breadcrumbs, then add just enough water to form a dough. Alternatively you can do this by hand – cut the butter into small pieces and rub it into the flour and salt with your fingertips until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs, then add water and bring together. Form the pastry into a disc, wrap in cling film and chill for two hours
  • 250g of unsalted butter
  • 500g of flour
  • 5g of salt
  • 50g of water
Meanwhile, make the brown crab custard. Add the butter to a saucepan over a medium heat. When it starts foaming, add the flour and cook the two for a minute or so to make a roux
  • 50g of unsalted butter
  • 50g of plain flour
Add the milk slowly, whisking constantly to make sure there are no lumps. Once you’ve added all the milk and you have a smooth base, bring the bechamel to the boil and then simmer gently for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • 150g of whole milk
Remove the bechamel from the heat and add the brown crab and Stichelton cheese. Season with a pinch of cayenne and salt, then blend the mixture until smooth. Pass it through a sieve, then allow it to cool to room temperature before transferring to a piping bag and keeping in the fridge until later
The other 100g of Stichelton can go in the freezer – once frozen, remove and blend to make a fine powder, then put back in the freezer until ready to serve. Alternatively, you can just grate it on top at the end
Preheat an oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
Divide the pastry into four equal-sized pieces. Working with 1 piece at a time, roll the pastry out to around 3mm thick, then cut out 6 circles with an 8cm ring cutter. Line the tartlet cases with the pastry circles, then chill in the fridge for 20 minutes until they’re firm to the touch
Line the tartlet cases with greaseproof paper and fill with rice (you can also use baking beans if you wish). Blind-bake the tartlet cases for 15 minutes, then remove the rice and greaseproof paper and bake for another 5 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature, then store in an airtight container. Repeat this step with the remaining 3 pieces of dough, until you have a total of 24 tartlet cases
When all your tartlet cases are ready, pipe the brown crab bechamel into each tart and bake in the oven for 12 minutes until golden brown. Finish the tart with the frozen (or grated) Stichelton cheese and serve immediately
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