Serves: 4-6 - Time:
Usually, I’ll try and offer shortcuts for those cooks who are time-poor. Here, although you can buy the ready-cooked mussel meat, it can be incredibly chewy so it is advisable to cook the mussels yourself. It only adds on about 15 minutes to the prep time and will make all the difference to the finished tart. The curry is barely there, more of a background flavour than main player. You could use queenie scallops instead of the large scallops in which case don’t sear them, simple scatter them with the mussels.
- For the pastry
- 250g plain flour
- 150g cold butter
- 1 egg
- For the filling
- 1 kg mussels, scrubbed and picked over (any broken shells or ones that remain open when tapped should be discarded)
- 40g butter
- 2 leeks, about 300g, washed, trimmed and cut into 5mm thick rounds
- 4 scallops, trimmed and cut in half horizontally
- 8 large peeled cooked prawns
- 3 large eggs
- 300ml double cream
- 100ml milk
- 2 teaspoons Madras curry powder
- For the pastry, put the flour and butter in a food processor and blend to a fine crumb. Beat the egg with 1 tablespoon cold water and pour into the bowl of the food processor. Blend in short bursts until the pastry comes together to form a smooth ball.
- Put the pastry on a floured surface and roll out to a circle large enough to line a 23cm loose-bottomed tart tin. Line the tin, leaving the pastry to overhang the sides-you can trim it when cooked. Prick the base all over with the tines of a fork. Chill for at least 1 hour.
- Heat the oven to 170˚c, fan oven 150˚c mark 3. Put a sheet of scrunched up baking parchment inside the pastry and fill with baking beans or pulses. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes until the sides are firm and turning golden. Carefully lift out the paper and beans and continue to cook for about 8-10 minutes until the base is cooked through.
- Turn the oven up to 180˚c, fan oven 170˚, mark 4. Put the mussels in a steamer and place over a pan of boiling water. Cook for 3 minutes. Remove the steamer from the pan and leave until the mussels are cool enough to handle. Pick out the mussel meat and place on a tray lined with absorbent paper. Leave to cool completely.
- Heat 25g of the butter in a frying pan and gently sweat the leeks for 10 minutes until soft but not too coloured. Leave to cool slightly then spread over the base of the tart. Wipe out the frying pan and add the remaining 15g butter. Sear the scallops for 50 seconds, turn over and sear for a further 30 seconds. Lift out of the pan and pat dry on absorbent paper.
- Scatter the mussel meat over the leeks, and arrange the prawns and scallops on top. In a jug, beat together the eggs, cream, milk and curry powder. Season with salt and ground black pepper.
- Take the tart over to the oven and place on a baking tray on a rack. Pour the egg mixture into the tart. Bake for 30 minutes until the centre of the tart is just firm. Leave for 10 minutes before serving.