This recipe will work just as well with chicken eggs (you'll only need two for each tart). The pastry recipe is a winner and comes from my friend Linda Evans's gran.
- 2 ham hocks (about 1.2kg)
- 1 each carrot, onion and celery stalk, coarsely chopped
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 5 black peppercorns
- ½ cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (loosely packed)
- 24 quail eggs
- 320 ml pouring cream
- 375 gm plain flour, sieved
- 125 gm butter, finely chopped
- 125 gm cold lard, coarsely chopped
- 2 cups flat-leaf parsley, coarsely torn (loosely packed)
- 2 golden shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp salted baby capers, rinsed and drained
- 50 ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1Combine hocks, carrot, onion, celery, bay leaves and pepper in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and cook until meat falls from the bone (2-2½ hours). Remove hocks (discard liquid and vegetables) and set aside until cool enough to handle. Coarsely shred (discard bones, fat and sinew) and set aside to cool completely.
- 2Meanwhile, for lard pastry, combine flour, butter and lard in a large bowl and mix with a small knife until coarsely combined. Form a well in the centre then add 175ml iced water (adding a little extra if necessary) and bring together with your hands. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until pastry just comes together, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate to rest (1 hour).
- 3Roll out pastry to 5mm thick and cut out four 15cm-diameter circles. Line four 300ml cake tins with pastry, trim edges, then refrigerate to rest (20 minutes).
- 4Preheat oven to 180C. Combine ham and parsley, season to taste, half-fill each tin with ham mixture. Crack 3 eggs into each, top with remaining ham mixture, crack in remaining eggs, then divide cream among tarts. Bake until golden and eggs are set (25-35 minutes).
- 5Meanwhile, for parsley salad, combine ingredients in a bowl, season to taste and serve with hot egg tarts.
Drink Suggestion: American-style pale ale. Drink suggestion by Max Allen