Back in November, I went on a cookery course at a farmhouse on the other side of Bury St Edmunds, not all that far from where I live. Part of the course was devoted to pastry making. I remember on that day we made small tarts for lunch followed by a quick demo of making dressings for salads; I think the tarts were almost ready to come out of the oven.
One of the great things about the cookery course was sitting down together, sampling all the things we’d created, and talking about how we’d got on with making the recipes. The conversation naturally steered towards fantasising about all the possible flavour combinations you can use in a tart.
We came up with delights such as:
- slow-roasted tomato, pesto and parmesan tart
- goat’s cheese and caramelised onion tart
- ham, mushroom and gruyère tart
- ham, cheddar and spring onion tart
Over the last week, I’ve dreamed up some vegetarian combinations and thought about what to serve with the tarts:
- goat’s cheese, roasted red pepper and thyme tart, served with mesclun (as shown at the top of this post)
- cheddar, onion, potato and rosemary tart, served with parsnip crisps
- mushroom, stilton and sage tart, served with purple-sprouting broccoli
Making lots of small tarts is a good way of using up all those leftover bits of cheese or other bits and bobs that are kicking around the fridge because you need only a small amount of any particular component.
What combinations would you use in your tarts?
Makes 3 x 10cm tarts
150g shortcrust pastry
100ml double cream
fillings of your choice — about a tablespoon of each component per tart
Preheat the oven to 200˚C. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface. Line the tart cases with the pasty, pressing the pastry into the edges of the tin. Trim the edges and then prick the pastry base with a fork. Line the pastry with greaseproof paper and pour in some ceramic baking beans (or dried beans).
Put the tarts on a baking sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes until cooked through.
Beat the egg, season and stir in the cream to make the custard.
Spread the filling onto the pastry and then pour on the custard. Sprinkle with the cheese of your choice (optional).
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until golden.