Tala's Vegetable Tart
This lovely recipe makes a wonderful centrepiece for a lunch or dinner throughout the year. Consider making double the pastry and making two cases – they freeze beautifully, which will allow you to make put a tart together very quickly at short notice.
The shortcrust pastry is made with 50/50 spelt and plain flour, which gives a lovely nutty flavour. I've added a teaspoon of poppy seeds and a teaspoon of chia seeds for texture and a subtle savoury taste.
(30cm x 20cm x 4cm approx)
For the pastry
150g plain flour (plus extra for dusting)
150g spelt flour
150g cold, cubed butter
1 tsp poppy seeds
1 tsp chia seeds
6 tbs cold water
For the filling
150ml double cream
4 free-range eggs
½ tsp salt
150g strong cheddar, grated
4tbs parmesan, grated
8-10 asparagus spears
half red onion, a few slices
4 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- Place all of the dry ingredients into the food processor (fitted with the chopping blade) and pulse briefly until evenly distributed.
- Add the cold water, tablespoon by tablespoon, pulsing each time, working the mixture as little as possible until it resembles fine brown breadcrumbs. You can test to see if the mixture is ready by pinching it – it should hold together.
- Turn the pastry out on the the work surface and push it into a ball.
- Dust the work surface with flour and roll out into a rectangle about 3-5mm thick and measuring approximately 40cm long and 30cm wide.
- Drape the pastry over the rolling pin, lift and carry it over the tin. Use your fingers to push the pastry into the fluted walls of the tin and trim away the excess, leaving about 3-4mm extra height above the sides of the tin in case of shrinkage.
- Use a kitchen fork to prick tiny holes in the surface of the base of the tart (do not prick all the way through the pastry).
- Refrigerate for 20-25 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius (338 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Line the base and walls of the tart with tin foil, fill with ceramic baking beans and bake for 25 minutes.
- Remove the baking beans and foil and bake again for a further 10 minutes until browned and the pastry has taken on a gold brown, opaque appearance.
- In a mixing bowl, break up the eggs and mix in the milk, cream, salt and pepper. Stir in the cheeses and set aside while you prepare the vegetables.
- Carefully pour the milk and cheese mixture into the prepared pastry case, then arrange the asparagus spears in a row along the length of the case. I like to alternate the asparagus spears top to tail, so that every slice of tart gets a fair ratio of tops and bottoms! Add the cherry tomatoes, then sprinkle the onion rings on top.
- Bake for 40 minutes until the cheese is golden brown. Serve hot or cold with salads, crusty bread or new potatoes.