Monday, 8 February 2016


My Nan is my number one food inspiration. She had some classic dishes in her repertoire from her "Pea Wack" to her coleslaw. It's this recipes that take me right back to when I was young, helping her out in the kitchen and then eating her fabulous creations. One of my favorites of her's was her cheese and onion tart which I've tried to recreate it in her honor. Its obviously not as good as hers but the nostalgia it conjures up is worth making it for alone! If you love a good quiche, and you love the flavors of cheese and onion this is the perfect bake for you!

So the basic tart filling is your standard egg and cream based shenanigan much like a quiche. Make sure you use full fat double cream otherwise your tart might not set correctly in the oven (this is defiantly something to eat on a treat day, diets out the window here!). You can mix up the cheese if you want and use something like a cheddar if you prefer however I find a strong orange cheese like a Red Leicester is what is needed to really give that cheesy punch of flavor to the tart filling otherwise you might find the flavor of the cheese you choose just gets lost altogether.

Whatever cheese you use make sure you season with plenty of salt and pepper to really prevent your filling from being totally bland. This is the reason why I also add the mustard, parsley and garlic salt to keep punching in that flavor. If you leave them out, you might want to think about replacing them with some other herbs and spices to give your tart some oomph. You can use white onions instead of red onion if you wish although I do like the sweet edge that the red onions bring to the pie and they also make the tart top look extra super pretty and tasty looking.

This recipe also includes a guide to making a shortcrust pastry from scrap. My Nan would have nothing less than a homemade shortcrust pastry but if you want to cheat and use ready made savory shortcrust pastry. Don't worry I wont tell her! You will also need a 25cm deep sided tart tin and if possible loose bottomed, this will make it easier to serve once baked and cooled;

Cheese And Onion Tart

250g Cubed Unsalted Butter
500g Plain Flour
3 Egg Yolks
200g Grated Red Leicester Cheese
4 Large Eggs
250ml Double Cream
1 Tsp English Mustard Powder
2 Tsp Dried Parsley
1 Tsp Garlic Salt
Salt And Pepper To Season
2 Red Onions Cut Into Rings

  1. Begin by making the pastry. Place the butter and flour in a food processor and blitz until combined into a breadcrumb like mixture. Add in the egg yolks blitz again until the mixture comes together to form a dough. If the dough isn't coming together well enough and breaking apart, add in a tbsp of water at a time until it does.
  2. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly to bring it fully together and then wrap the dough infilm and pop it in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm slightly. 
  3. After the dough has chilled, lightly grease your tart tin andthen unwrap the pastry and discard the film. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface again, dust a rolling pin with flour and then roll the pastry out so that it's half a cm thick and big enough to cover the base, sides and slightly over hang over the top of the tin.
  4. Prick the base of the pastry and pop it back in the fridge for 10 minutes. Whilst the pastry is in the fridge turn your oven on to 200 degrees (180 fan). When the pastry has chilled again, remove from the fridge, line the top of the pastry with baking paper, pour in some baking beans or rice and pop the pastry case into the oven for 20 minutes.
  5. Whilst the pastry in the oven, add the cheese, eggs, double cream, mustard powder, parsley and garlic salt into a bowl and season liberally with salt and pepper. Mix everything together until everything is well combined. Leave to one side.
  6. After the 20 minutes in the oven, remove the pastry tin and then remove the baking bean/rice and paper and leave to cool for five minutes. 
  7. Take 2/3 of the onion rings and scatter them evenly over the pastry case and then pour in the cheesy cream egg mixture ensuring even distribution of the grated cheese. Evenly Scatter over the remaining onion rings and then place the tart back in the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes until the edges are firm but there is still a slight wobble in the centre of the pie filling.
Remove the tart from the oven, trim the pastry off the edges of the tart if needed and leave to cool in the tin were the filling will continue to firm up and set. Remove the tart from the tin and then serve in big massive chunks. Those crunchy red onions scattered over the top at the end should be poking out from over the tart filling making the tart totally irresistible to the eye. The filling is soft and uber cheesy whilst your pastry should act as a crumbly yummy vessel for all this tart based magic. It was never going to be as good as my Nan's cheese and onion tart but served alongside a fresh salad or a big dollop of ketchup, my version comes in a close second.

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