“This savoury tart works nicely served with a sharp salad in the autumn,” says pastry chef and Junior Bake Off judge Ravneet Gill.
“The cheese and chilli both bringing comfort and warmth.”
Lancashire cheese and green chilli tart
For the pastry:
125g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
Pinch of fine salt
100g cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 egg yolk
2tbsp cold full-fat milk
1 egg, beaten, for the egg wash
For the filling:
30g unsalted butter
2 large onions, finely sliced
1/2tsp Maldon or flaky salt, plus an extra pinch
1tsp ground white pepper, plus an extra pinch
300ml double cream
4 egg yolks
100g Lancashire cheese, grated
2 fresh Thai green chillies, finely chopped (deseeded, if you prefer)
1. To make the pastry, in a stand mixer ﬁtted with the paddle attachment, or a food processor, or in a large bowl, combine the ﬂour, cornﬂour and salt. Mix well.
2. Add in the cold cubed butter and mix or pulse until the butter disappears and you have the texture of crumbs. If doing this by hand, rub into crumbs with your ﬁngertips.
3. Beat the egg yolk and milk together in a small bowl, then add to the crumbed mixture and mix quickly to form a dough. Don’t overwork the mixture, just bring it together until you have an evenly smooth dough. Flatten into a disc, wrap in clingﬁlm and chill in the fridge for one hour or until ﬁrm. Or freeze it at this stage for up to three months (defrost before use).
4. While the pastry is resting, cook the onions for the filling. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, then add the onions and cook over a medium-low heat for three to four minutes. Add the salt and white pepper, cover with a lid and cook the onions very gently for 10 minutes until soft and translucent (don’t allow them to colour), then add the water and cook, uncovered, for a further 20 minutes until the water has evaporated and the onions are soft and sweet. Remove from the heat, then spread the onions out on a tray or plate and leave to cool.
5. Preheat the oven to 160°C fan/180°C/gas mark 4. Place a sturdy baking tray on a shelf/rack in the centre of the oven to preheat.
6. Remove the pastry from the fridge and let it soften for 10 minutes or so. Lightly dust your work surface with ﬂour, then roll out the pastry to a round with a thickness of five millimetres (¼ inch) and use it to line a 20 centimetre (eight inch) loose-based round tart tin, leaving a slight overhang of pastry.
7. Blind-bake the pastry. Prick the bottom of the pastry case all over with a fork, then line the pastry case with a sheet of baking paper and ﬁll to the top with baking beans or dried rice/lentils. Put this on a preheated baking tray in the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until golden on the edges and dry to touch. Carefully remove the baking paper and beans, then return to the oven (on the baking tray) for 10 minutes, until the base is golden. Remove from the oven and brush the pastry base with the egg wash, then return to the oven for a further five minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside for 10 minutes.
Finish the ﬁlling. Mix the cream, egg yolks, cooled onions, the cheese and green chillies together in a bowl until combined. Add an extra pinch each of salt and white pepper. Pour this mixture into the blind-baked tart case.
8. Bake (on the baking tray) for 30-40 minutes until the filling is set and golden.
9. Remove from the oven and cool slightly in the tin (on the baking tray), then use a small serrated knife to tidy up the edges of the tart and cut off any excess pastry.
10. Carefully remove the tart from the tin and place it on a serving plate/board. Serve warm with a mustardy watercress salad. This tart can also be enjoyed cold. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two days, but the pastry will soften.
Baking For Pleasure by Ravneet Gill is published by Pavilion, priced £26. Photography by Mike Tsang. Available now.