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Quail eggs Benedict tartlets

You'll need

200 gm shortcrust pastry (see note) 1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tbsp water, for egg wash 18 quail eggs 9 thin slices jamón Ibérico, halved (see note) To serve: finely chopped chives   Hollandaise 125 gm unsalted butter, coarsely chopped 2 tsp white wine vinegar ½ golden shallot, finely chopped 1 black peppercorn 1 fresh bay leaf 2 egg yolks To taste: lemon juice


  • 01
  • Preheat oven to 220C. Roll out pastry to 3mm thick on a lightly floured surface and cut into rounds using a 4cm-diameter pastry cutter. Place on a baking paper-lined oven tray, prick the centre of each disc with the tines of a fork several times, brush with egg wash and bake until golden brown (5-10 minutes). Remove from oven and, while still warm, press lightly to flatten. Set aside.
  • 02
  • For hollandaise, melt butter in a small saucepan, remove from heat and keep warm (it should remain at blood temperature). Meanwhile, simmer vinegar, shallot, peppercorn, bay leaf and 35ml water in a small saucepan over high heat until reduced by half. Strain through a fine sieve into a heatproof bowl and cool to room temperature. Add egg yolks and whisk over a saucepan of gently simmering water until pale and creamy (4-6 minutes). Make sure you don’t let the mixture get too hot as it will curdle. Remove from heat and slowly ladle in butter, one ladle at a time, whisking vigorously until combined. Season to taste with sea salt and lemon juice and set aside in a warm place.
  • 03
  • Bring a saucepan of salted water to a simmer over low-medium heat. Stir water to create a slow-moving whirlpool, then carefully crack quail eggs into water in batches. Cook until just set (2 minutes), then remove using a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Keep warm.
  • 04
  • Place a folded piece of jamón on each pastry disc, top with a quail egg and spoon a little hollandaise over. Scatter with chives and serve immediately.
Note Russell Blaikie recommends sour cream shortcrust pastry by Carême, available from select delicatessens or substitute with another good-quality shortcrust pastry. Jamón Ibérico is available from Spanish delicatessens and select butchers.

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

Drink Suggestion

Champagne will cut through the richness of egg yolk and hollandaise – something fresh and crisp with great acidity and structure such as a blanc de blancs.

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