Despite much pulling, countless barrow loads of wood chips and weed reducing membrane Mr Glam and I still have a garden riddled with Ground Elder. Every spring the young leaves pop up and we set to work pulling the runners out. This year in desperation, I’ve decided to eat it by making a Scandi Ground Elder Tart – or two. Ground Elder is a popular foraged leaf in Scandinavian countries and in ancient times was planted by the Romans as a ready crop for the marching soldiers.
It is best picked when the leaves are young as once it has flowered in mid June they can be very bitter and has a slight laxative effect! You can prolong the season by nipping off the buds as soon as they appear. Just pick, remove the stems and blanch or steam as you would for spinach, or add raw, to salads, it has a slightly lemony, parsley, fresh flavour and after all it’s free. We’re still pulling the runners but with slightly less frustration.
For this recipe I’ve put together Ground Elder and the King of cheeses Vasterbottensost, (which is available from Waitrose and by mail order from Try Swedish, Scandinavian Kitchen or Totally Swedish). With tiny holes through it and a slightly grainy texture it’s a little like parmesan, packing a punch of aromatic flavour and tangy bite. But if you just want to get on and bake with what you’ve got, use cheddar or a mix of 170 g cheddar and 80 g parmesan. This is a traditional Swedish recipe and uses a mix of milk, cream and eggs for the filling along with the cheese and leaves, a delicious luxurious combination.
Ground Elder Tart
- • For the pastry
- • 225 g Plain Flour
- • 120 g Cold butter
- • 1 egg yolk
- • 31/2 tbsp water
- • For the filling
- • 2 eggs
- • 1 egg yolk
- • 250 ml double cream
- • 100 ml milk
- • ½ tsp sweet paprika
- • ¼ tsp cayenne
- • 250 g grated Vasterbottensost or cheddar
- • 30 g ground elder (or chopped spinach) blanched
- Put the flour into a large bowl, chop the butter into cubes and rub into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Beat the egg and water together and add to the flour, stir until the mixture starts to come together and then tip from the bowl and bring together into a dough. Refrigerate for 30 mins.
- Grease an 8 inch/20cm lose bottom flan tin and set aside. Preheat the oven to 180c, 160c fan assisted, gas mark 4, 350f.
- Remove the pastry from the fridge, roll out to at least 5 cm larger than the flan tin and lift it draped over the rolling pin gently into the baking tin. Press into the edges and leave any extra flopped over the outer edge.
- crumple up a piece of baking or greaseproof paper and lay over the pastry, fill with baking beans or dried rice or beans and bake for 15 mins.
- Remove from the oven remove the paper and baking beans and leave to cool slightly. Trim off the excess pastry from the edge.
- Meanwhile put all the ingredients except the ground elder into a bowl and mix well together, stir in the very well drained ground elder and pour the whole mixture into the part baked flan case.
- Put back into the oven for 15-20 minutes until puffed up and golden brown.
- It can be served hot or cold.
If you’d like to cook more Scandi recipes try these simple Scandi Flavours