This tart is perfect for this scorching hot weather we are having in England at the moment, although I admit that even I cannot stand slaving over the oven on a day like today. However, if you can bear the heat of the kitchen, this tart is perfect for an evening in the garden. Filled with refreshing tomatoes, which still hold that distinct ‘just off the vine’ hint, asparagus and tangy Wensleydale cheese, it works well served with a clump of peppery rocket. Wallace was on to a good thing with this Wensleydale business.
For the pastry
115 g butter
100g plain flour
75g wholemeal flour
1 and a half tablespoons chopped basil
2-3 tablespoons water
For the filling
100g on the vine tomatoes
150ml single cream
1. The first stage to making this tart is, of course, the lining of the tin. I used a loose bottomed tart dish with pleated edge. It is sufficient to simply grease the tin with a little melted butter, being careful to get into all the ridges, then dust with a little flour.
2. To make the pastry, combine the two types of flour. I added wholemeal to lend the tart a slightly nuttier texture and also to make it a little healthier, as there is only so much cream and cheese a girl can eat and still feel good about herself. Cube the chilled butter then rub this into the flour using the tips of your fingers until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs and there are no chunks of butter left. Alternatively you can do this using a food processor if you are lucky enough to have one. Stir in the finely chopped basil leaves and add the water a bit at a time until you can bring the pastry into a nice dough.
3. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface until big enough to line the tart tin. It should be relatively thin. Pick up by rolling over your rolling pin and gently place in the tin. Due to the wholemeal flour, the pastry may be a little brittle, so if you are having trouble you can try rolling the pastry out on baking parchment.
4. Using a bit of left over pastry, gently prod firmly into all the corners and creases of the tin.Using a sharp serrated knife, even out the edges so they are level with the tin. Leave to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
5. To make the filling, lightly steam or blanch the asparagus. Cube the Wensleydale and chop the tomatoes in half.
6. Beat together 3 eggs, then add the cream, a little pinch of salt and a hefty crunch of black pepper.
7. Preheat the oven to 200•C.
8. Once the pastry case has chilled, line with baking parchment and baking beans (or some kind of dry pulse or grain such as rice) and blind bake at 200•C for 15 minutes.
9. After the blind bake is finished, remove the baking beans and parchment. Scatter the asparagus, tomatoes and wensleydale cheese over the base of the case. Pour over the cream and egg mix until half full. Transfer to the over and top up the tin with the rest of the egg and cream until almost level with the crust.
10. Bake for ~ 30 minutes.