This summery tart is great accompanied by a crunchy, herby salad for lunch on a hot day. Parmesan, cherry tomato and basil are a simple but beautiful flavour combination, and the crème fraîche works to cut through the richness and add a touch of tartness to the dish.
I use our Shipton Mill organic soft cake and pastry flour for the tart case, which creates a beautifully short pastry case in which to hold the filling.
FOR THE PASTRY
Start by making your pastry, which you can do either by hand or using a food processor. First cut your butter into small cubes of roughly 1cm using two knives to avoid touching it with your hands, and place it in a large mixing bowl.
Sift your flour and salt from a height into the bowl, to get the air into the ingredients. Gently rub the butter into the flours using your fingertips. A light touch here is important; lift up the flour as you do this and let it fall back into the bowl to create a lighter texture for the mix. You should end up with a breadcrumb-type consistency – don’t overwork it. If using a food processor, pulse the flour and butter together until you reach this consistency.
Add 2 tablespoons of cold water by sprinkling it evenly over the mixture. Use a blunt kitchen knife or palette knife to incorporate it as quickly as possible and bring the dough together. If you need more water add it gradually and sparingly – you only need enough to bind the dough. If your ingredients look dry then add some more, but stop before it becomes wet and tacky; you want to end up with a soft dough. If using a food processor, it can be a little harder to tell as you can’t touch the dough, so stop the motor from time to time to check the consistency. If you push your ball of dough together and it cracks, the gluten needs a little more working.
Shape your dough into a disc and wrap it in cling film. Rest it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
To blind bake your pastry case, preheat your oven to 220°C. On a lightly floured work surface use a rolling pin to ridge the dough and start to push it outwards before you roll it. Rotate at each quarter turn, and when it is big enough, roll it out into a circle shape, 2-3mm thick. Lay the pastry over the tin using your rolling pin to help lift it, and use your fingers to press it snugly into the grooves. Trim off any excess pastry. Prick the base of the pastry with a fork to prevent bubbles forming. Cover the base and sides of the case with baking parchment, and weigh it down with baking beans. Make sure the beans are pushed right into the edges of the tin.
Place your cherry tomatoes and garlic cloves in a roasting dish, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Place on the bottom shelf of the oven.
Blind bake the pastry case for 10 minutes, until pale golden with no wet patches of dough. Remove the parchment and beans, and prick the base again with a fork. Bake for a further 10 minutes until just golden brown, then remove from the oven and set aside. Remove the tomatoes and garlic at the same time.
FOR THE FILLING
Mix your crème fraîche, cream, eggs, Parmesan and basil together in a bowl and whisk with a fork to combine. Season with a very little salt (the Parmesan will add saltiness too), and some black pepper. Pour into your pastry case, and then dot with the roasted cherry tomatoes. I discard the garlic and just use it for roasting to give the tomatoes a hint, but you can also chop it up and combine it with the filling for a stronger flavour.
Lower your oven to 180°C, and bake your tart for 20-25 minutes, until golden and set. Leave it to settle in the tin for 5 minutes or so, garnish with some fresh basil, and serve warm. This tart is best eaten on the day of making, but you can store it in the fridge in an airtight container for up to three days.