A beautiful and richly flavored tart!

Fennel and Roquefort Tart is an elegant appetizer or light meal richly flavored with creamy Roquefort cheese and fennel, from the doyenne of French cooking, Anne Willan.

Fennel Roquefort Tart

Born into a wealthy family in Yorkshire England, Anne Willan got her degree in economics from Cambridge, but soon after graduation took cooking classes that altered the direction of her life.  Anne moved to France where she honed her cooking skills and married a world banker.  Their lives took them back and forth across the Atlantic for many years but they eventually settled into a country Chateau in Burgundy, France where Anne founded the famous French culinary school La Varenne in 1975.
Anne is yet another in our long list of game changers who, as a non-native, became utterly smitten with the wonders of simple, fresh and rustic Mediterranean food.  She’s put in over 35 years as an educator, cookbook author and food columnist, and is recognized as one of the world’s experts on French cooking.

Anne moved from her chateau in France to Los Angeles in 1973 to be closer to her daughter.  While she has been inspired by the amazing produce and vibrant food culture of southern California, she says wistfully…“I do miss the cheese, though”.

This tart, or quiche, is a classic example of the simple genius of rustic French cooking.  The ingredients are simple, but powerful…Roquefort cheese packs a huge flavor punch, and fennel adds a sophisticated licorice flavor and a subtle crunch.  Fresh thyme and a touch of nutmeg complete the flavor profile ~ perfection!
This recipe is from La Varenne
Fennel and Roquefort Tart


  • 1 1/2 lb (750 g) fennel bulb, trimmed and sliced
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp chopped thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 6 oz (175g) Roquefort cheese, crumbled
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 (125 ml) cup milk
  • 1/4 (60 ml) cup heavy cream
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • baked pastry shell in a 10 inch tart pan (I used an unbaked crust, recipe here.


  1. Set oven to 375F
  2. Prepare fennel filling: Heat butter in a frying pan and add fennel, thyme, salt and pepper -- use very little salt as the cheese will be salty. Press a piece of buttered foil on top, cover and sweat the fennel, stirring occasionally, until very soft but not brown, 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile, make the custard: Whisk egg, egg yolk, milk, cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a bowl just until mixed.
  3. When fennel is soft, add Roquefort cheese and stir to melt the cheese. (I skipped this step because I thought the cheese would be nicer if left crumbled to melt as the tart baked, partly for texture and partly for taste) Spread mixture evenly in base of pastry shell and pour over custard. Gently mix fennel and custard with a fork.
  4. Bake the tart in heated oven until done, 30-35 minutes. Let cool slightly before un-molding. Serve warm or at room temperature.


  • A frozen pie crust will make quick work of this recipe.
This Fennel And Roquefort Tart is a lovely light meal

If you don’t have any of Anne’s cookbooks and you want to check out her recipes, the La Varenne website has a wonderful index of recipes organized by year and season.

A beautiful tart made with fennel and Roquefort cheese
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23 Responses to Fennel and Roquefort Tart

  1. Peghissima says:

    I made this tart for a group of gourmands and they asked for the recipe. Thanks for posting it.
    I am making another two for a party this afternoon. My pie crust has no egg in it though and it comes out really nice. I think the pre-ccoking of the shell for 10 minutes is important. That’s a personal preference though.

  2. Fantastic looking tart! I could eat this combination every night of the week.

  3. grace says:

    fact: i won some roquefort from ile de france and it was in my fridge for 8 hours before i gave it away. that was a few weeks ago, and my fridge STILL stinks. :)

  4. Miranda says:

    I can’t believe how beautiful this looks! I have never made a tart, but you made me want to buy a tar pan just to try it!

  5. This is a REALLY beautiful tart – fantastic ingredients – and wonderful cooked! Perfect post :)
    Mary x

  6. Victoria says:

    drroooool….my only problem with cooking with cheese like this…is that half of it goes into my gob before I even start cooking!! looks fab as usual! :)

  7. Loveforfood says:

    that sure looks delicious.

  8. I just want to grab that wedge of Roquefort and sneak off by myself. YUM! This sounds fantastic :D

  9. I remember watching her on TV. She was always so lovely. Your tart looks fantastic. A chilled glass of wine and I’d be in heaven.

  10. Claudia says:

    This is a most enticing post – oh my does that tart like fabulous – I must try all that wonderful savory. The photos are just stunning. May I come to dinner?

  11. Kitchen Belleicious says:

    my word your pictures are like straight from a magazine cover. Absolutely divine and breath taking. I could eat this ever day!

  12. Fennel and roquefort sounds like such a good combination. My kids, who like strong flavors, would be fighting over this tart. Beautiful pictures!

  13. Paula says:

    Beautiful tart, beautiful Anne. All cardio can’t keep up with all the recipes you post. I already tried the white and dark chocolate barks. But as you recommended – I will give them to friends and keep the crumbs. :-)

  14. Kathy says:

    Your tart looks fabulous! Love the flavors of the fennel and roquefort…must be so delicious.
    Sue, Your missing my name from the list…just thought I’d let you know. By the way…your photos are wonderful!

  15. Barbara says:

    Oh Sue, this looks fabulous!!! I love Anne Willan recipes! Definitely making this soon.

  16. Mary says:

    As always, your photos are gorgeous. The light in your kitchen (or wherever you happen to be shooting these) is truly fabulous.

  17. Rose says:

    I am already salivating. :D

  18. Jeanette says:

    Oh my, this tart looks amazing! What a decadent tart – it looks beautiful.

  19. Mary says:

    I unequivocally love this recipe. It takes courage to combine 2 such strong ingredients. It takes talent and know-how to pull it off. Bob loves both fennel and roquefort cheese, so I’ll be making this before the holiday season is over. This was a great choice. Have a wonderful day. Blessings…Mary

  20. annie says:

    Sue, This looks beautiful and I’m sure it is so delicious…your photographs look like they would be right at home in her latest book, Country Cooking of France. I wish I had a slice right now!

  21. That wedge of cheese looks so delicious! A drizzle of honey and some walnuts would be wonderful with that.

  22. Yummy Mummy says:

    This is so elegant and delicious!

  23. Stephanie says:

    Looks beautiful! I can’t keep up with all these amazing recipes you keep highlighting! You must have a lot of leftovers ;)

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