Baby Leaf and Ricotta Flan

The Plain Kitchen

This is a mash up of a quiche, a flan and a pie- well, at least that’s what I thought when I made it. I fancied a rather more substantial crust to my usual cheddar quiche crust- and one that was herbed, one that would complement a spinach type of filling, with cream cheese and ricotta: I could picture it in my head: and it turned out well- the crust is substantial- but, if you fancy it thinner, I would simply divide it between two smaller quiche tins and double up the filling quantities if you wanted to. I used a 20cm tart tin- so, not as deep as a quiche- hence it being more flan like, if that makes sense! The baby leaves in question here were chard, spinach and pea shoots: If you wanted just chard, or spinach, that would be perfect. Somehow I don’t think it would work with just pea shoots- I don’t think they have enough bulk and substance to them. Remember, 150g seems like a lot of leaves- but they reduce and wilt down to a small squeezed handful. And yes, you must do the squeezing after wilting- the filling will be too watery if you don’t.

Serve warm or at room temperature. It’s not great cold!

Serves 6

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius


For the base:

70g gram flour

105g gluten free self raising flour

20g ricotta cheese

50g cheddar chese, grated

1 tsp baking powder

Pinch table salt

85 butter

2 tbsp chopped parsley

Good grinding black pepper

½ an egg: ie, beat an egg, and only use ½ of the beaten egg- the other half will go into the filling

1-2 tbsp water

For the filling:

The other half of that beaten egg

150g chard, spinach and pea shoots or similar, chopped

180g full fat cream cheese

50g ricotta cheese

1 tbsp olive oil

½ white onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, microplaned

25g parmesan, grated

50g melted butter

½ tsp Pimenton

½ tsp maldon salt

Good grinding black pepper

For the top:

Handful pine nuts

A little extra microplaned parmesan


Start on the pastry first. Mix all of the ingredienss together, except for the water and egg, in abowl- rub the butter, cheese and ricotta into the mix as you would for scones, until you have a fine mix. Add 1 tbsp water and half the beaten egg, and pull together to form a dough. If you think it needs a little more water, add it now. Line your tart or flan tin in a patchwork fashion- again, because we are dealing with gluten free flour, there is no need to rest or chill it, rather work with it when it is warm. Really make sure that the whole bottonm and sides are evenly covered in the dough, and flatten it all out. Line the bottom with a round of baking parchment, fill with baking beads and bake blind for 15 minutes. Then remove from the oven, remove the beads and parchment and bake again for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and wait to cool completely.

To make the filling, wilt the leaves: all I do is pop the chopped leaves into a nonstick frying pan on a medium heat and stir very gently and quickly, never letting the leaves catch, but allowing them to wilt. Once they have wilted, remove from the heat and pop the leaves into a bowl- you will squeeze the water out later when they’re cool enough to handle.


Soften the onion and garlic in the olive oil- about 10 minutes on a medium heat is what you need. Mix with the ricotta, melted butter, beaten egg, parmesan, pimenton, seasoning and the cream cheese. The leaves should be cool enough to handle by now. Squeeze any excess water from them- you may just be left with a large dark handful of leaves! Stir these through the cheese mixture, well, to distribute the leaves evenly. Pour into the tart shell, top with pine nuts and microplaned parmesan, and bake for 20-25 minutes. Allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.


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