These sweet tomato and feta tarts have a special, secret weapon to make them utterly moreish. They're baked in a crisp, rich, cheddar cheese pastry crust! At the risk of blowing my own horn, these are possibly my favourite savoury vegetable tart ever - try this pastry at least once and tell me what you think!
This recipe is brought to you by Woolworths Gold.
Just when you think you know someone, they can out of the blue surprise you with funny tales. Most kids love the idea of Disneyland and it is a a dream trip for most children (and adults like me). When Mr NQN was very small his whole hippy family made their way over to California to work on a commune and on the way there they went to Disneyland. Everyone was having fun but Mr NQN took one look at Mickey Mouse, promptly freaked out and burst into tears. Certainly an enormous mouse with a gigantic head is generally a little surreal at the best of times but it was all too much for the poor little munchkin. His mother Tuulikki particularly likes retelling this story, usually at times in front of people for maximum embarrassment.
Even today he can surprise me. He is not a fan of bakeries, cakes or tarts. Yet he loved these tarts and ate three of them in one go. Who'd have thought it?
Actually I kind of know why he loved them so much. You see these tarts have the very best savoury pastry ever. Like you have to make this tart and pastry at least once in your life but if you make it once, you'll definitely make it again. I got the idea to make a summer tart with these fresh Woolworths Gold Sweet Berry Truss Tomatoes and their Woolworths Gold Rosemary Bay Leaf & Juniper Fetta Cheese. I wanted to make the pastry case even better than normal though and upp the cheese factor.
Then I remembered the cheese biscuits that I had made for Christmas a few years ago! I decided base my tart crust recipe on this to give it an injection of flavour. I baked it blind and it was crisp and cheesy. In it went some onion, eggs, cream and some of the Woolworths Gold Rosemary Bay Leaf & Juniper Fetta Cheese which is a creamy Persian style feta made in the Yarra Valley using Australian milk. It's marinated in extra virgin olive oil with bay leaf, rosemary and juniper and is brilliant on toast or magic in tarts (and save the oil for a great salad dressing).
These were then topped with these adorable little Woolworths Gold Sweet Berry Truss Tomatoes (available in selected stores from late October). These glossy little tomatoes are shaped like little red strawberries and are strong in flavour. They are grown exclusively for them in Guyra, NSW and are hand picked and hand packed. I also oven dried some for sandwiches and that concentrated the flavour even more. With the remainder of them, I topped these tarts!
I know that the first three steps are about the pastry but this is a pushy recipe because the pastry is that moreish and it really makes this one of the best tarts you will eat. If it is any consolation the filling is an absolute cinch and you can also make the pastry a day ahead of bake them ahead of time and just fill them on the day that you serve them. In my head I have an imaginary bakery and these would be the tart crust I would use for all my imaginary savoury tarts that I would sell. I served these for lunch as well as dinner and you can make them round, rectangular (as shown) or even as a large square or round tart. Just make them (sorry I get a bit pushy when I love something).
So tell me Dear Reader, do you get pushy when you love something? Do you like telling people about things that you have discovered? What is your favourite fruit or vegetable of spring or summer?
Summery Tomato, Basil & Feta Tart With Cheese Pastry!
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott/Not Quite Nigella
Makes 8x12cm/4.8inch individual sized tarts
Preparation time: 30 minutes plus 2 hours resting time for pastry
Cooking time: 15 minutes plus 20 minutes
- 90g/3ozs. cheddar cheese
- 125g/4ozs. cold butter, cut into cubes
- 4 tablespoons cream cheese spread
- 2/3 cup plain all purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
- 1/3 cup cornstarch or cornflour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2-4 tablespoons cold water
- 1/2 red onion, sliced very thinly
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup cream
- 4x 130g packets of Woolworths Gold Sweet Berry Truss Tomatoes
- 1/2 x 270g jar of Woolworths Gold Rosemary Bay Leaf & Juniper Fetta Cheese
- A small handful of fresh basil
Step 1 - Place the cheese in a food processor and whiz to grate - you can also grate the cheese but I'm all for as little effort as possible. Add the butter, cream cheese, flour, cornstarch/cornflour and salt and pulse until it resembles very fine crumbs. Add the water through the chute one tablespoon at a time until it resembles tiny little balls. Empty this out onto a clean surface and bring together and knead for a minute to create a ball of dough. Flatten down and wrap in cling film and allow to rest for 2 hours in the fridge (you can also rest it overnight in the fridge, just take it out 30 minutes before you want to use it).
Step 2 - Generously flour a surface and a rolling pin with flour and roll out the pastry until very thin. You can use the pastry to patch holes if you get them but you should be able to get eight pastry cases for this for 12cm/4.8inch tart cases (remembering you larger than a 12cm/4.8inch cutter for this to accommodate the tart sides). Place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Step 3 - Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Dock the base of the pastry with a fork and line the tarts with foil pressing down gently so that the foil sits in the sides of the tart - we don't want the pastry to rise at all as we want it thin and crisp. Add ceramic pie weights or dried rice or beans to weigh it down and bake for 15 minutes until golden. Remove the weights and allow to cool just while you make the filling (it doesn't need to cool particularly much).
Step 4 - Add some thinly sliced onion to the base of the tart. Finely chiffonade four large basil leaves and whisk this along with the eggs and cream and pour a little over the onion and divide among the eight tarts. Crumble some feta in each tart and then cut add four attached tomatoes on top of the tart pressing down gently. Bake for 20 minutes.