Nick Malgieri
Nick Malgieri

Basler Kaeswaie: Carnival Chesse Tart from Basel

This recipe is based on eating my way through Basel’s Fasnacht several times and on information from my friend Erika Lieben, a native of and part-time resident of Basel, and the recipe in a cookbook called Basler Kochschule (Basel Cooking School) (Friedrich Reinhart Verlag, 11th edition, no date) by Amalie Schneider-Schloeth. Note: This tart is made in a 1-inch deep removable bottom tart pan, not the deeper pan shown in the photo. Makes one 10-inch tart, about 8 servings

Pastry Dough

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into 8 or 10 pieces

4 tablespoons cold water

Cheese Filling

2 cups (about 4 ounces) coarsely grated Swiss Gruyere

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups half and half, or 1 cup each milk and heavy cream

3 large eggs

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Pinch each of salt and freshly grated nutmeg

One 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom

  1. Set a rack in the lowest level of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees.
  2. For the dough, combine the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse several times to mix. Add the butter and pulse until the butter is in 1/4-inch pieces. Add the water and pulse until the dough forms a ball. Invert the dough to a floured work surface, carefully remove the blade, and form it into a thick disk.
  3. Flour the dough and roll it to a 12-inch disk. Fold the dough in half and transfer it to the pan, lining up the fold with the diameter of the pan. Unfold the dough into the pan and press it well into the bottom and side of the pan. Use a bench scraper or the back of a knife to sever the excess dough at the rim of the pan.
  4. Toss the cheese with the flour and evenly distribute it on the pastry crust. Whisk the remaining ingredients together and pour over the cheese. 5. Bake the tart until the crust is baked through and the filling is set and well colored, about 25 to 30 minutes. 6. Cool the tart briefly on a rack and unmold it to a platter; serve immediately or later at room temperature.