Fresh Herb Tart
- For the pastry:
- 120g butter, at room temperature
- 60g cornflour
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tbsp water
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 130g plain flour
- For the filling:
- 25g butter
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 4 spring onions, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
- 3 eggs
- 100ml crème fraîche, plus extra to serve (optional)
- 120ml double cream
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp coriander seeds, lighted toasted and ground to a powder
- 120g mature Cheddar, grated
- 2 sprigs of parsley, leaves only, roughly chopped
- 4 sprigs each of tarragon, thyme, oregano, marjoram, and chervil, leaves only, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp snipped chives
First, make the pastry. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the beater attachment, beat the butter until smooth and soft. Stop the machine, scrape it down, and add the cornflour, egg yolk, water, salt and sugar. Mix again on low speed until a soft paste forms. Stop, scrape and add the flour, then mix slowly until you have a soft dough. Flatten out into a thick disc and wrap in cling film. Chill for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
Cut the pastry in half and roll one half out on a lightly floured surface to 3mm thick disc. Use it to line a 24cm tart tin and bake blind (p.31). Set the baked case aside to cool completely. Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C/gas mark 4.
To make the filling, melt the butter in a frying pan and cook the onion, spring onions and garlic over a medium heat until very soft – about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
Whisk together the eggs, crème fraîche, double cream, salt, pepper and ground coriander. Add the cooled onion mixture to this custard and mix well. Stir in all the herbs, coating them well, then mix in the grated cheese.
Pour the herb custard into the tart case and bake for 10 minutes, or until very slightly coloured. Reduce the temperature to 170°C/gas mark 3 and bake for a further 20–25 minutes. Try to keep this tart beautifully light in colour, so the colours of all the herbs shine through the pale custard. Remove from the oven as soon as it’s completely set. Serve while still warm, perhaps with an extra dollop of crème fraîche.