Sunday, 8 May 2011

The ever-adaptable amazing tart.

I've got myself hooked on tart. It's not good. Well actually it is damn good. And this is the problem. It is so good that I made it twice the week of the bank holiday mayhem, and currently have pastry and filling ready and waiting for yet another. It's basically a quiche, but I don't like quiche, and yet I love this. Yes, it's that good.
Which is a problem, because I'm pretty certain that its things like this tart that are not helping me drop the weight I seem to be carrying around. You see, it turns out that pie and beer is not a particularly good diet, and if you get into the habit of these things your body punishes you. I know. And yet I cannot help but make this tart again tonight, because it's easy and tasty and goes so very well with steamed broccoli (which is a superfood, and therefore clearly cancels out any calories that might be in a slice of tart, right? Right?)
The first time I made it I used cream and cheese and leeks poached in white wine, and it was delicious. Then I decided that in order to at least have the pretense of it being healthy cutting out the cream would be best, so I used skimmed milk and roasted butternut squash and caramalised onions and a hint of cream cheese and lots of black pepper. And it was delicious. Tonight I am using hot smoked mackerel, and poached leeks, and one less egg (opps! not enough in the fridge) a hint of cream, but no cheese. It already smells amazing.
What I'm getting at is that you really shouldn't make this tart. I mean you should, but I cannot hold myself responsible for the tart-obsession that might take over. Then again, that might just be my problem!
What I am including here is the recipe for a small tart with the squash and onion filling, but frankly it seems that you can put anything in this thing, and doubling the size would be really easy. Next on my list of fillings to try is roasted tomatoes, pesto and goats cheese. See....I'm already planning another. Help! I need an intervention!
The ever-adaptable, scarily morish tart - serves one, ahem, I mean four.

I use a 7.5" by 1" fluted tart pan with a removable base and find this makes four perfect servings.

Shortcrust pastry:

250g Plain flour
1 egg yolk
125g butter

Blend together all the ingredients apart from the milk, either in a bowl by hand, or in a food processor, and then gradually add milk 1tbsp at a time until the dough just comes together. Chill for at least an hour before using.

Preheat the oven to 170C. Roll out and then gently line your tart pan, trimming the pastry, but allowing at least a half inch overlap in case of shrinkage. You'll have plenty of pastry left, which can be wrapped in the fridge or frozen. Line the tart pan with greaseproof and fill with baking beans and blind bake for 20mins. Then remove from the oven, retrieve the baking beans and greaseproof and return to the oven for 5 more minutes, or until the pastry is dry to the touch, but not too coloured. Trim the edges and allow to cool.


1 egg
1 egg yolk
175ml of cream/milk (I've been using 75ml cream and 100ml milk)
2 tbsp cream cheese
freshly ground pepper
pinch of salt
1/2 roasted butternut squash, cut into cubes (or basically whatever takes your fancy)
1 onion, cooked slowly with 2 tsp brown sugar until soft and fragrant (or whatever takes your fancy, although I do believe you need an oniony flavour, but whether thats onions, leeks or spring onions is up to you)

Preheat the oven to 180C

Beat the eggs, and slowly add the milk/cream mixture, and finally the cream cheese. Beat well to combine, and then add freshly ground black pepper to taste, and a small pinch of salt.

Arrange the squash and onion evenly in the base of tart shell, and then place the whole thing on a baking tray. Open the oven and slide the baking tray halfway in. Then gently pour over the custard mix (this should prevent spillage if you fill and then carry to the oven). Cook for 30mins until just set in the middle, well risen and slightly golden. Allow to cool slighlty then serve warm with either a dressed salad or steamed greens.


  1. This looks amazing. I love quiche - but I'm sure this is better! Although I can't help feeling that makingenough pastry to have some over as an excuse for another tart is not helping your obsession!
    Thanks for a great recipe - I'm gonna try it with leeks first.

  2. Oh my, that tart looks good, as a vegetarian I think that may become a new obsession for me, especially as hubby loves anything pastry, the pesto, tomato and goats cheese sounds amazing too, thank you for the recipe
    x clare x