Stilton, Chestnut and Cranberry Tart {gluten-free}

This Stilton, Chestnut and Cranberry Tart makes a lovely festive lunch. The richness of the stilton and woodsy notes of the chestnuts are sharpened with the zesty cranberry sauce.

This Stilton, Chestnut and Cranberry Tart makes a lovely festive lunch. The richness of the stilton and woodsy notes of the chestnuts are sharpened with the zesty cranberry sauce.

The holiday baking starts here. I hadn’t meant to leave it over two weeks in between posts but I have been working on the market stall every weekend for the past few weeks, doing winter fairs and my usual spot at Tottenham Green Market and it’s left little room for anything else. It’s been the best ever season for my stall which I finally transitioned to be 100% gluten-free in October and I have had a brilliant response from it. I am still working on tweaking the recipe for a few of my more popular wheat cakes to taste just as good in their gluten-free form so any spare half hour I have I am flinging cakes in the oven. There is a lot of half eaten cake in our house at the moment.

This Stilton, Chestnut and Cranberry Tart makes a lovely festive lunch. The richness of the stilton and woodsy notes of the chestnuts are sharpened with the zesty cranberry sauce.

I hadn’t even really thought how turning my stall gluten-free would affect my preserves and it was only when looking at my ingredients list that I noticed cheeky gluten hiding in a few of my recipes. The ale in my Boxing Day Ale Chutney has now been swapped for a gluten-free variety, the flour in my Piccalilli has been substituted for cornflour and tapioca starch but doom fell upon my kitchen during the curse-laden end of my Traditional Mincemeat prep. I was ding donging merrily on high along with spotify, happily pouring in boxes of suet to all the other ingredients, when what to my wandering eyes should appear but a treacherous coating of flour on each individual strand of suet. It was way too late by then to salvage the situation so instead of tossing the lot which I couldn’t bring myself to do I now have one thing on my stall that isn’t gluten-free. I still have a lot of love for it despite its tainted status as it’s a pretty fantastic mincemeat, made with real beef along with the suet. Not a veggie fantasy. I am also soothed by the fact that my Cranberry and Cointreau Mincemeat is naturally gluten-free so ingredient intolerant customers do not have to go without.

This Stilton, Chestnut and Cranberry Tart makes a lovely festive lunch. The richness of the stilton and woodsy notes of the chestnuts are sharpened with the zesty cranberry sauce.

One of my favourite preserves at this time of year though is the ubiquitous cranberry sauce and once you have tried a homemade version you will be convinced, like me, to eat it all year round. I make loads of jars of it at the end of November when the supermarkets just begin to stock up and from then on I am pretty much game to serve cranberry sauce with anything. This Stilton, Chestnut and Cranberry Tart though is where the cranberry sauce really shines. It pairs so well with the stilton and chestnut that you really don’t need to look any further if you are wondering what to do with the rest of your jar after the turkey has been eaten.

My mum, who hates stilton, took an extra slice home with her after visiting this weekend. Luke, who always claims he hates quichey things, was thrilled when I made the tart two days running for supper. Cole though made it clear that he preferred the tart when he was eating it from our plates rather than his, so you might want to take his feedback into consideration when serving it out. Also, if you eat the tart straight out of the oven then you get that melty cheese factor which is so good. By letting it rest out of the oven for a couple of hours the tart will firm up so it’s a bit more stable if you like it that way or if you need to transport it anywhere.

This Stilton, Chestnut and Cranberry Tart makes a lovely festive lunch. The richness of the stilton and woodsy notes of the chestnuts are sharpened with the zesty cranberry sauce.

I have wanted to experiment with gluten-free pastry for a while now but had heard so many crumbly, dry or soggy horror stories that I have been putting it off. However, my happy experiences with the recipes in Alanna Taylor-Tobin’s Alternative Baker encouraged me to give her pastry a go as well. I changed things a little as I wanted to make a savoury tart rather than a sweet tart but I mostly followed her instruction for her buckwheat flaky pastry and I have to say that the pastry tasted great on the very first go. Both the texture with the flaky snap of the tart case, and the buttery taste which is made more complex by the variety of flours, including one of my faves, buckwheat, has left me thoroughly satisfied that this can be my new go-to pastry.

I have since made this tart a few times and except for an extra two minutes to sift the different flours together, this pastry comes together just as quickly as my normal wheat flour version. In fact quicker as you don’t need to work the pastry as much or bother with chilling it every time you go near it as the gluten doesn’t need to rest.

This Stilton, Chestnut and Cranberry Tart makes a lovely festive lunch. The richness of the stilton and woodsy notes of the chestnuts are sharpened with the zesty cranberry sauce.

I am really enjoying my gluten-free experiments these days, it is forcing me to try new things and think about my ingredients in a different way rather than relying on the dominance of wheat flour. It makes every little success in the kitchen that bit more rewarding as careful thought has been put into every ingredient. I know I am opening up my recipes to a wider audience and it doesn’t hurt that I can now eat everything on my stall, give or take a mincemeat.

This Stilton, Chestnut and Cranberry Tart makes a lovely festive lunch. The richness of the stilton and woodsy notes of the chestnuts are sharpened with the zesty cranberry sauce.
Print Recipe
Stilton, Chestnut and Cranberry Tart
This Stilton, Chestnut and Cranberry Tart makes a lovely festive lunch. The richness of the stilton and woodsy notes of the chestnuts are sharpened with the zesty cranberry sauce.
This Stilton, Chestnut and Cranberry Tart makes a lovely festive lunch. The richness of the stilton and woodsy notes of the chestnuts are sharpened with the zesty cranberry sauce.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Passive Time 30 minutes
Servings
6 people
Ingredients
For the pastry:
  • 80 g sweet white rice flour
  • 25 g oat flour
  • 45 g buckwheat flour
  • 30 g cornflour
  • 15 g tapioca starch
  • 15 g ground chia seeds
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 115 g cold unsalted butter cut into very thin slices
  • 1 egg medium, lightly beaten
  • 2-4 tablespoons iced water
  • A few tablespoons of a gluten-free flour blend for rolling
  • 1 egg beaten for the egg wash
For the filling:
  • 15 g salted butter
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 400 ml crème fraiche
  • 175 g Stilton crumbled
  • 100 g vacuum packed chestnuts roughly chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 75 g cranberry sauce
Equipment:
  • 25 cm round tart tin
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Passive Time 30 minutes
Servings
6 people
Ingredients
For the pastry:
  • 80 g sweet white rice flour
  • 25 g oat flour
  • 45 g buckwheat flour
  • 30 g cornflour
  • 15 g tapioca starch
  • 15 g ground chia seeds
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 115 g cold unsalted butter cut into very thin slices
  • 1 egg medium, lightly beaten
  • 2-4 tablespoons iced water
  • A few tablespoons of a gluten-free flour blend for rolling
  • 1 egg beaten for the egg wash
For the filling:
  • 15 g salted butter
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 400 ml crème fraiche
  • 175 g Stilton crumbled
  • 100 g vacuum packed chestnuts roughly chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 75 g cranberry sauce
Equipment:
  • 25 cm round tart tin
This Stilton, Chestnut and Cranberry Tart makes a lovely festive lunch. The richness of the stilton and woodsy notes of the chestnuts are sharpened with the zesty cranberry sauce.
Instructions
To make the pastry
  1. In a large mixing bowl combine the flours, chia seeds and salt.
  2. Rub the butter into the flour in between your fingertips so it resembles very rough breadcrumbs then stir in the beaten egg with a fork.
  3. Add the water 1 tablespoon at a time and start to bring the dough together with a pastry scraper. It should start to form quite quickly.
  4. Tip the dough onto the work surface and bring the ball into a round ball. You want the pastry to still be a little sticky.
  5. Wrap the pastry in greaseproof paper and flatten the ball slightly.
  6. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.
  7. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
  8. Dust the work surface with a gluten-free flour blend then roll the pastry out into a circle large enough to line a 25cm tart tin.
  9. Once you have lined the pastry in the tin and neatened the edges with a knife, place greaseproof paper over the pastry, so it comes up the sides, then fill the tin with baking beans.
  10. Place the tart tin in the oven for 20 minutes. Take out of the oven then remove the baking beans and parchment and brush the surface of the pastry with the beaten egg.
  11. Place back in the oven for a final five minutes to seal the pastry. Remove from the oven and leave to cool to room temperature before adding the filling.
To make the filling
  1. First prepare the onions by adding them into a saucepan along with the salted butter. Cook on a low heat for 25-30 minutes until the onions are completely soft, translucent and just beginning to caramelise around the edges. Leave to cool for half an hour before adding to the other ingredients.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 180°C.
  3. Whisk the eggs, egg yolks and crème fraiche together, then add the stilton, chestnuts, caramelised onions, salt and pepper. Do reserve some of the stilton and chestnuts for crumbling onto the top.
  4. Pour the filling into the ready-baked pastry case and then dot the remaining stilton, chestnuts and cranberry sauce on top.
  5. Place the tart in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
  6. You can either eat the tart straightaway hot from the oven or leave to come to room temperature where the tart will firm up a little more.

Stilton Stuffed Olive Martini

This Stilton Stuffed Olive Martini is the ultimate in sophisticated extravagance.

Stilton Stuffed Olive Martini

The other night my husband and I curled up on the sofa drinking martinis and watching Bad Santa.  I don’t think we have it so bad.

These are my ultimate martinis, first tried on the heady first day of our honeymoon in the Redwood Room at the Clift Hotel in San Francisco.  Jet lagged and barely awake these ice cold babies woke us right up and we have been re-creating them at home every December since then.

Christmas is the perfect time for this indulgence and is probably the only time we have Stilton in.  It doesn’t last long though after the first casual suggestion that we mix some martinis.

The blue cheese stuffed olives infuse the cocktail with the perfect umami note and these gin soaked beauties languishing at the bottom of the glass are the most special treat I can offer you this Christmas time.  The original version at the Redwood Room is made with vodka, but in this house gin martinis are the only road to take and these are truly a reason to be jolly.

Sit back and think of Don Draper whilst swigging one of these back.  It certainly makes the chore of present wrapping much more enjoyable.

Stilton Stuffed Olive Martini

Serves 2 (or 1 twice)

High quality gin
Martini Extra Dry or Noilly Prat
Pitted Green Olives
Stilton

  1. Half fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Pour in 5 shots of high quality gin.
  3. Stir until cold.
  4. Put a dash of Martini Extra Dry or Noilly Prat into each martini glass, swirl it round so it covers the sides. Pour out leaving a drop at the bottom.
  5. Give the gin another stir and pour out equally into the two glasses.
  6. Stuff green pitted olives with as much stilton as it can take, pierce as many as will fit onto a cocktail stick and dunk into your martini.