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One French word: chèvre, a French recipe: tarte au chèvre et au miel


Chèvre, masculine noun (un chèvre, le chèvre, des chèvres) = goat’s cheese (pronounced shai-vre, shai as the sha sound in shared, vre with the r pronounced in the back of your throat, tricky!).

But chèvre, feminine noun (une chèvre, la chèvre, des chèvres) = goat (pronounced in exactly the same way).

So, chèvre, the animal, is feminine (stands to reason, she gives milk to make cheese) and chèvre, the cheese, is masculine (le fromage de chèvre, abbreviated to du chèvre).

France produces a multitude of very different, very good goat’s cheeses. Words you might need to know: chèvre chaud = literally hot goat’s cheese, in other words toasted goat’s cheese; chèvre frais = fresh (soft) goat’s cheese; chèvre fermier = farmhouse goat’s cheese; chèvre fondu = melted goat’s cheese.

The little round hard goat’s cheeses are called crottin (= farm animal droppings). The long roll shaped cheeses are called bûche (= log).

Tarte au chèvre et au miel, many thanks to Jacques Vidican for his photo of the tart he did from my recipe

My recipe is for une tarte au chèvre et au miel, a honey and goat’s cheese tart. It is a main dish, but could be made in tiny portions as apéritif bites, or small individual portions as a starter.

The quality of bought puff pastry varies enormously (and no one makes their own puff pastry, no one I know anyway). Do buy the best quality available, made with pure butter.

Individual sized tarte au chèvre et au miel

For 6 people as a main dish you will need:

  • one 26cm round of pre-rolled good quality puff pastry
  • 1  large onion
  • 1 pot of thick cream or crème fraîche
  • a jar of sundried tomatoes
  • 1 roll fresh goat’s cheese (for once it doesn’t have to be the finest quality, or 2 or 3 crottin cut into slices to make rounds
  • 1 tbs runny honey
  • salt, pepper
  • a little white wine
  • a little olive oil
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme (optional)

Preparation:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Peel and chop the onion, fry it in a tbs olive oil until it starts to colour. Add a tablespoon of dry white wine and a teaspoon of the honey and cook until caramelized.
  3. Line a tart dish with the puff pastry, prick all over with a fork, and put into the hot oven for 5 minutes.
  4. Spread the caramelized onion evenly over the bottom of the tart, then a layer of cream. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cut the bûche de chèvre into slices and spread them over the cream in a symmetrical pattern, leaving room in between for about 6 sundried tomatoes.
  5. Drizzle the rest of the honey over the cheese (maybe avoiding too much on the tomatoes, it tends to make them burn a bit during cooking). Top with a tsp very fresh green thyme leaves if you choose to use them, but don’t use dried.
Tarte chève miel before cooking

Tarte chèvre miel before cooking

Put back into the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes. Leave to cool for 5 minutes before serving. A green salad goes well with this tart. And another glass of the dry white wine you used to cook the onion. White wine goes excellently with goat’s cheese.

Two sizes of tarte au chèvre et au miel: individual and mini

Do not have the brilliant idea of substituting mozzarella for goat’s cheese should you have the one and not the other in the fridge. The mozzarella would lose a lot of water and make the whole tart soggy. Goat’s cheese is not watery. But you do not need a “great” goat’s cheese for this recipe. A standard fresh, white, soft goat’s cheese will do. Save the more expensive ones for your cheese board.

If you wish to do smaller versions as a starter, as I have done, the method is identical. Line individual size tart dishes with pastry and continue the recipe, putting a whole round of goat’s cheese in the centre of the dish and half slices of cheese and tomato alternating around the circumference. You will only need to cook these for about 12 minutes.

For apéritif mouthfuls (tartelettes), it is useful to have appropriate silicone molds.  Still prick the pastry and precook for about 4 minutes. They will puff up anyway, but just break the bubble with your thumb. Put a tiny amount of each ingredient in each tart shell and top with a little triangle of goat’s cheese. Put hardly any honey in a teaspoon, and let droplets fall on each tartlet; I’ve done a few of these too to show you how good they look! Only cook them for 5-7 minutes.

Mini tartes chèvre miel

I have just devoured a few of these for my lunch. So good, I can’t tell you!

Bon appétit.

About OneFrenchWord

I was a professional linguist and have been a life-long foodie. I am now lucky enough to be retired and free to roam the beaches around my home at the tip of the Finistère (Brittany, France). Writing is occupying a larger place in my life, with this blog and a children's book in preparation. I shall feel much happier calling myself a writer when I have published a book. And so posts on OneFrenchWord will be published first as an e-book, my ambition being to see a glossy volume on French language and cuisine in print some day. So keep reading, and snap up the book when it appears!

19 responses »

  1. Yes, it is hard to find good frozen puff pastry. And even harder to make your own.

    Reply
  2. I don’t use frozen (in fact frozen is harder to find here). I use fresh, which is ready rolled into a circle. You just have to take it out of the fridge and unroll the tube.

    Reply
  3. Sounds delicious. I must try this – I love goat’s cheese and am always looking for new things to give veggie friends. I use ready-made pastry all the time – puff and shortcrust. My own pastry is awful. I’ve never developed the knack.

    Reply
    • Ah, now you see, I never know what to classify as “vegetarian” on my blog; is it “no meat”? “no fish, no meat”? In doubt, I only tick vegetarian when it’s just vegetables!

      Reply
  4. I’ve been hoping for “chèvre” to turn up and this recipe looks marvelous! Will be tried. I’m not sure if I can find puff pastry here, if not I have to settle for ordinary pastry. Hope that will do.
    I was wondering if you will present that fantastic “upside-down” tarte with aubergine, dried tomatoes and puff pastry too?
    Thank you for introducing the blog of Kate Swaffer! I learn a lot from her way of looking at life. I followed my mother on that same journey and was many times astonished over the loving skills she showed me.
    PS An American guy tought me that vegetarian food means “nothing with a face” DS

    Reply
    • Of course you can use short crust pastry Inga Lill, if you can’t find puff pastry. Different, but just as nice.
      Yes I shall be doing the tart you speak of, but later on, summer, when it’s more seasonal. You’ll have to be patient!
      I’m glad you are following Kate Swaffer. She writes so beautifully, she is so courageous, and so active in her fight to have dementia sufferers properly diagnosed and treated.
      And above all, thank you for your definition of vegetarian! That’s easy to remember at least. I shall go back and reclassify my recipes! “Nothing with a face”. Very good.

      Reply
  5. This is going to be a very dangerous site for my diet. It looks delicious!

    Reply
  6. If I made these I wouldn’t get a look in. My DH would devour the lot. He loves chevre

    Reply
  7. This just looks delicious! In France you can buy ready-made pastry in almost any Carrefour or Cora for sweet and savory dishes. I will bake these today! THNX for the recipe :-)

    Reply
  8. This sounds yummy. I love goat cheese and I shall be trying this dish very soon. Thanks for sharing

    Reply
  9. This sounds divine. I will prepare this for my wine and cheese tasting in two weeks. Thanks for the continuing french lessons,

    Reply
    • Hello Shannon! Long time no hear, good to see you here. Thanks for signing up, too.
      Yes this is really good. I had “leftovers” warmed up for my supper last night. If you are having a party, bite sized ones, though more of a pain to create, are definitely better. It is difficult to carry slices around, and it leave puff pastry crumbs everywhere. On the other hand, the size that you can just pop in your mouth disappears much too quickly!

      Reply
  10. Bonjour Caroline! We have been living in France for almost 3 years now and we are so happy here. We have made many French friends in our small village in the Charente and we are always looking out for recipes for apero! This is just the perfect dish to add to my repertoire. I shall be adding your blog to my favourites and will be returning often for more culinary ideas. Merci et bon journee.

    Reply
    • Thank you Mary. I’m travelling at the moment and not doing my blog. Hope to pick it upagain later…

      Reply
      • Oh, Caroline, I was thinking about you the other day. I have printed out several of your recipes and I came across them by accident, I miss you…Let us know as soon as you get back. I got away from my blog, too, what with the wedding and honeymoon and new life. But I want to get back to it.

        Reply

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