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Tomato and thyme tart

A recipe from Breakfast, Lunch, Tea

Serves: 6-8

Ingredients:

Tart Cases:

Enough to make 3 x 28cm (11 inch) tart cases (crusts)

500 g (3⅓ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour

½ teaspoon salt

250 g (generous 1 cup) cold unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing

1 egg yolk about

250ml (1 cup) cold water

Cream Mixture:

Enough for 1 x 28cm (11 inch) tart

500ml (2 cups) single (light) cream

4 eggs

1 egg yolk

pinch each of salt and ground black pepper

pinch of grated nutmeg

Tart Filling:

6 tomatoes, halved

salt and ground black pepper

extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

100g (1 cup) grated Cheddar cheese

350g (1½ cups) ricotta cheese

1 handful chopped fresh thyme

Method:

Tart Case:

Put the flour and salt in a bowl, cut the butter into pieces and work it into the flour with your fingertips.

Now make a well in the middle of the flour and butter mixture and add the egg yolk and half the water (only a third on a very hot day – it’s only in the coldest months that we use up all the water).

Stir quickly with a fork to start bringing the dry and wet ingredients together, adding more water if needed. When the fork can’t do any more, use your hands just to bring the dough together.

There is no kneading or pressing – all you have to do is gather up the dry parts as quickly as possible. Make sure you don’t have a sticky mess or a dry crumbly mound. If your hands get too warm put them under cold water for few minutes.

Wrap the dough in cling film (plastic wrap) and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes – or up to 8 hours.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas Mark 4 and grease 3 x 28cm (11inch) tart tins (quiche pans) with butter.

Take the dough out of the fridge and divide it into three pieces. Dust your work surface and rolling pin with lots of flour and roll out one of the pieces, lifting and turning it all the time so that it does not stick to the surface.

When it reaches a thickness of about 4mm (⅛ inch) – less if possible – use it to line a tart tin. Make sure you don’t stretch the dough to make it fit. Just ease it in with a little extra to spare – this will stop the pastry shrinking. Repeat the process with the remaining pieces of dough.

Chill again for about 30 minutes.

Bake the tart cases blind with any weight system you have (we use foil filled with beans) for about 25– 30 minutes. The pastry must be dry and just turning golden. Cool for a while.

Filling the Tart:

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas Mark 4.

To make the cream mixture, beat all the ingredients together in a bowl until they are well mixed.

For the vegetable filling, bake the tomatoes skin-side up for about 45 minutes, until the liquid has gone and the skins can easily be removed.

Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper and drizzle a little oil over them.

Scatter the Cheddar cheese over the base of the tart case. Place the tomatoes on top of this and spoonfuls of ricotta over the tomatoes.

Pour in as much of the cream mixture as you can without it spilling over the top. Sprinkle with the thyme.

Transfer carefully to the oven and bake for about 30 minutes till the filling has set and is lightly golden.