Looking for something special to impress your friends and family this Christmas? We’ve got just the thing for you. Discover Rosie Birkett’s amazing recipe for Comté cheese tarts, and read on for the chance to win your own hamper of cheese goodies:

Comté is the perfect cheese for putting on the Christmas cheese board and impressing your loved ones over the holidays. So, in the spirit of Christmas, we’ve teamed up with our friends at Comté cheese to give away a delicious, luxury hamper of delicious Comté and other cheesy goodies. Man, we love cheese. It couldn’t be easier to win, simply enter here:

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Crab and Comté Tarts

Comté Cheese

Comté Cheese

And, if you fancy whipping up an impressive cheese dish at home, discover Rosie Birkett’s cheese tarts. This indulgent recipe pairs beautifully nutty Comté with sweet crab meat and caramelised fennel in an indulgent Comté pastry case. They can be made ahead, are a great way of making the most of fresh crab meat, and make a fantastic dinner party starter or addition to any swanky picnic. Tuck in.

Makes 12 8cm tarts


For the Pastry:

  • 340g flour
  • 180g cold unsalted butter, cubed 
  • 50g Comté 24 months, grated
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp ice cold water 

For the Filling

  • Tbsp olive oil
  • Bulb of fennel, finely chopped, fronds reserved
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pinch of fennel seeds
  • Pinch of red chilli flakes
  • Zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
  • Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp brandy or pastis
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 300g creme fraiche
  • 200g Comté
  • 1 spring onion, finely sliced
  • Grating of fresh nutmeg
  • 240g fresh crab meat – white and brown
  • 6 tarragon leaves, finely sliced
  • Extra grated Comté



1. First make the pastry. Put the flour and butter into a large bowl and rub in the butter by lightly squeezing it with the flour between your fingers and thumb and fanning, a bit like you’re dealing cards. You want nice fine flakes of butter, don’t worry about taking it as far as breadcrumbs.

2. Once the butter and flour are combined, add in the grated Comté and mix it through. Then add in the egg and one tablespoon of the ice cold water. I use a flat bladed butter knife to work the mix, stirring until the dough comes together.

3. Add the other tablespoon of ice cold water if need be, stir and then get your hands into the bowl and squeeze the dough together, pulling it together and over itself until it’s mostly combined.

4. Tip out onto a very lightly floured surface (using lots of extra flour at this stage will make for a heavier pastry), and lightly bring it all together until it’s smooth.

5. Knock the dough into a rectangle, wrap in greaseproof paper rather than clingfilm – which makes it sweat, and refrigerate for at least one hour.

6. After an hour, preheat the oven to 180. Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out to just under pound coin thickness. Line some greased 8cm tart tins (or one large tart dish) with the pastry and fill with crumpled greaseproof and baking beans.

7. Bake for 20 minutes then remove the baking beans, prick the bottoms with a fork and return to the oven for five more minutes to crisp up the bottoms. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

8. To make the filling, heat the olive oil over a medium heat in a heavy bottomed nonstick frying pan or skillet. Add the chopped fennel and salt and pepper and cook for three minutes, then add the fennel seeds, red chilli flakes and lemon zest and cook gently for about five more minutes, until the fennel is fragrant and caramelised.

9. Season with a bit of lemon juice and then add the brandy or pastis to deglaze. Cook until the alcohol has evaporated and set aside.

10. In a bowl crack the eggs and stir in the crème fraiche, Comté and spring onion with a wooden spoon. Do not over mix as this will make a heavier filling. Season with salt and pepper and freshly ground nutmeg and stir through the chopped tarragon.

11. Divide the fennel and crab meat between the pastry cases and top with the custard.

12. Top with the fennel fronds and extra Comté bake for 20 minutes, until puffed and golden. Remove and allow to cool completely before serving with a green salad.