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.
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.
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 fennel and roquefort 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!
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.
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.
- Set oven to 375F
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 fennel and roquefort tart recipe.
Don’t forget to pin this delicious Fennel and Roquefort Tart~
Questions and Reviews
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!
This is a REALLY beautiful tart – fantastic ingredients – and wonderful cooked! Perfect post 🙂
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! 🙂
that sure looks delicious.
I just want to grab that wedge of Roquefort and sneak off by myself. YUM! This sounds fantastic 😀
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.
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?
my word your pictures are like straight from a magazine cover. Absolutely divine and breath taking. I could eat this ever day!
Fennel and roquefort sounds like such a good combination. My kids, who like strong flavors, would be fighting over this tart. Beautiful pictures!
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. 🙂