Saturday, 9 August 2014


I love tarts! No don't be smutty, of course I mean a scrummy pastry base filled with a delicious filling. Of course I've made many a sweet tart like my famous bakewell tart but one of my favourite bakes has to be a cheesy tart. Now we all know about Lorraine and her quiche but it's not very original or veggie friendly. Here is my "Cheesimato" tart. Herby pastry lined with tomato chutney, filled with a cheese and onion savoury mix and topped with breadcrumbs and cherry tomatoes. Great for a summer meal!

Now whenever I make a tart I always try to jazz up the pastry by adding some extra flavors into it. Anyway you add flavor to a dish is a good thing right? The pastry I made below adds some dried thyme for an extra punch but any other fresh or dried herbs would work just as well. Use whatever you have in the cupboard or you can leave the herbs out altogether if your all out. I always advocate making your own pastry as it is simply so much better than shop bought but it can be time consuming so if you are pushed for time you can trim a good hour off the prep time by buying a ready made roll.

The same again can be said for the tomato chutney. There is something satisfying about making your own chutney but there are some fabulous jars of chutney you can buy in shops. It doesn't need to be tomato either, you could whip up or buy a fantastic onion chutney instead which will work as well or maybe even a piccalilli. The world is your oyster so they say!

Take a nice gentle day and whip up my what I call "Cheesimato" tart

Cheesimato Tart

For The Pastry
250g Plain Flour
125g Cold Cubed Butter
1 Tbsp Dried Thyme
2 Egg Yolks
Pinch Of Salt 
 For The Chutney

250g Red Onion (Sliced)
500g Chopped Fresh Tomatoes
1 Chopped Whole Red Chili (Deseeded If You Wish)
75ml Red Wine Vinegar
140g Light Brown Sugar

For The Filling And Topping

1 Finely Chopped Red Onion
1 Whole Egg
1 Egg Yolk
200ml Double Cream
100g Grated Chedder Cheese
Salt And Pepper To Season
50g Breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp Dried Thyme
10 Cherry Tomatoes

  1. Begin with the pastry. Weigh out your flour in a bowl and then add the cubed butter With cold hands, rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add in the thyme and mix it through the crumbs.
  2. Add in the egg yolks and bring the dough together with your hand. If the dough is not coming together properly add in a tbsp of cold water at a time until it does.
  3. Roll the dough into a ball and wrap in cling film. Place in the fridge to firm up for 30 minutes.
  4. Whilst the dough is chilling prepare the chutney. Place all the chutney ingredients into a pan and heat on a medium heat, stirring as you go and breaking up the tomatoes so a sauce forms that will begin to dissolve the sugar. Once all the tomatoes have broken down leave the pan to simmer for around 40 minutes until the mixture thickens to a chutney like consistency. Take the pan off the heat and leave to cool.
  5. Take the pastry out your fridge and roll out nice and thinly to fill the base and sides of a 20cm tart tin, ideally loosebottomed. Make sure there are no holes in the pastry as you don't want the tart filling to seep through later.
  6. Trim all over hanging edges with a knife and then place back in the fridge to chill. Start to pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees (180 fan) whilst you make a start on the filling. 
  7. Throw your onions into a lightly oiled pan on a low heat and fry until soft. Leave to one side to cool.
  8. Place your whole egg, yolk, cream and 3/4 of the cheese in abowl and whisk together until everything is combined. Season with some salt and pepper and leave to one side again.
  9. In another bowl mix together your breadcrumbs and thyme with 2 tsp of your tomato chutney and the rest of the cheese and set aside once more.
  10. It is now time to assemble the tart but before you do make sure all your ingredients have cooled right down. If not, pour yourself a cup of tea. You deserve it. A lot of work has gone into this already.
  11. Once everything has cooled, remove the pastry from the fridge and prick the base several times with a fork. Take as much chutney as you need to spread a layer across the base of the tart. Not to much though or you mat bestow a soggy bottom onto your tart which would be catastrophic. Place any leftover chutney in a sterilized jar and keep for when needed. The taste of the chutney will get better over time too!
  12. Take the onions and scatter these over the top of the chutney base before pouring in the cheesy eggy filling. Finally, scatter over the cheesy tomato breadcrumbs before taking your cherry tomatoes and pressing them decoratively into the top of the tart.
  13. Place the tart in the oven for 35 minutes until the top has gone golden brown and the centre of the tart has a slight wobble. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before removing from the tart tin.
Now you can either serve the tart warm or leave it too cool completely. I much prefer it served cold with a nice side salad or slaw. It a great tart to take out on a picnic or to tuck into late at night straight from the fridge (or Nigella style as I like to call it).
It can day a long time to make but the satisfaction of cutting yourself a huge slab at the end of it all and tasting all those fresh ingredients, well for me that's what cooking is all about.

Cheesimato! Cheestastic!

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