The home made tart that embodies the taste of lazy summer days.
When I first started experimenting with vegetarian food, before avocados and shakshouka took over and demoted French food to the sidelines at brunch, quiche was all the rave in London. So in those days, I made a fair amount of quiche at home. Not always equally successful; sometimes the pastry was too crumbly and I was as anxious every time about whether the custard would set. The flavour, though, could never be faulted.
I still make quiche from time to time, even if not as often as before. With time, I’ve also mastered the pastry and custard. Instead, I can focus my quiche baking efforts on the most important part: the flavours which makes a tart more than just, well, pastry and custard.
This version is summery and colourful, with cherry tomatoes full of flavour and – not least – a whole head of garlic. Indeed. A whole head of garlic, caramelised until brown and deep flavoured – yet more subtly garlicky than in a less cooked form.
I’ve called this a tart but I could just as well have called it a quiche. Indeed, there doesn’t seem to be any clear rule to distinguish quiches, tarts and pais. The quiches of foregone days in London were fairly rustic and tall, almost cake-like. What was sold as tarts tended to be smaller, flatter and prettier. Baked in a pie tin, this one is smaller, flatter and prettier, so I’ve called it a tart – though you can call it a quiche if you like.
The recipe is loosely based on this caramelised garlic tart – and when I say loosely I mean loosely. The main common denominator is the caramelised garlic, although they are caramelised in completely different ways. Nevertheless, this was where the idea for the tart came from, so credit where credit is due. I always make my own pastry, but you can use shop-bought if you like. While I use shortcrust pastry, I imagine puff pastry will also work well, if you prefer. Serve with a good salad and lots of sunshine. Yieds 1 tart, enough for 4-6.
Tomato and garlic tart
- 200 g white flour
- 105 g cold butter, cubed
- 45 g cold water
Custard and filling
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil
- 250-300 g cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 whole head of garlic, cloves separated and peeled
- 125 g feta cheese
- 75 g mozzarella or other white cheese of your choice
- 3 eggs
- 100 ml whole milk
- 100 ml yoghurt
- 2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary (leaves only)
- salt and pepper
- Make the pastry by crumbling the butter in the flour. I use the batter hook on my kitchen machine, but you can also crumble the cubes in the flour between your fingers – it just takes longer. When the mixture is completely breadcrumb-like, incorporate cold water and mix until you have a firm dough. Using a kitchen machine, this takes just a few seconds. Wrap well and refridgerate for at least 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 180 C.
- Mix the cherry tomatoes and garlic cloves with the olive oil and seasoning. Spread on a baking sheet, tomatoes cut side up, and roast high in the oven until the garlic is completely golden, around 30 minutes, turning the garlic a couple of times (but leaving the tomatoes alone). Set aside.
- Butter a pie tin. Roll out the pastry so that it at covers the whole tin including the sides. Cut off any excess. Use a fork to make a few dents in the dough – this helps prevent it rising. Cover the dough with parchment paper and baking beans (I use dried chickpeas which I’ve set aside for this purpose and re-use; they should not be cooked as regular chickpeas later). Bake for 20 minutes. (I add the pastry to the oven once the tomatoes and garlic has been roasting for 10 minutes – this way they finish at the same time). Remove the parchment paper and baking beans and roast until the pastry is cooked through, another 5-6 minutes.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 160 C.
- Make the custard by whisking together the eggs, whole milk, yoghurt, rosemary and a little seasoning (keeping in mind the cheese will add a lot of salt).
- Spread the cheese and garlic cloves over the pastry, then add the custard. Finally, add the tomatoes, cut side up, in a pretty (or random) pattern. Bake until set and golden on top, 30-40 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, but not straight out of the oven.
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