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Sunday, 11 August 2013

Short-Crust Pastry for Savoury Pies & Tarts and The Simplest Most Delicious Tomato Tart

Tomato Tart
Photo by Bronmarshall

I have received many requests for a good savoury short-crust pastry, and because the past month was very busy with the Ramadan Special posts, I wasn't able to post the recipe then.

But, here we are, this is my go-to recipe for savoury shortcrust pastry and it is very simple to make, yet super delicious (especially when flavoured to match the ingredients of the filling). Making your own pastry is way better than buying the ready made ones, as it allows you to control the flavour and use these to enhance the overall flavour of your savoury pie or tart.

Pastry Flavour options 
Use spices, hard cheeses, toasted nuts, herbs and even chutneys or flavoured oils to flavour your pastry. These flavourings can either mirror those that are used in the filling or different ones to enhance and compliment the flavours of the fillings.

Parmesan cheese or any similarly textured cheeses, sage, thyme, oregano, dills, fried garlic, sumac, zaatar, cumin seeds, sesame or fennel seeds are all flavours that I repeatedly go for in my savoury pies and tarts...

The sky is the limit so be creative :)


Instead of using the same old tomatoes,
try mixing different types of tomatoes in any
recipe including this delicious ingredient.
You will be surprised how this enriches
the flavour and the visual appeal
of your dish.
Short-Crust Pastry for Savoury Pies & Tarts
Makes 1 large pie or 12 mini pies (8 servings)

This pastry is perfect for making any type of savoury pies and tarts. Flavour the pastry with Parmesan cheese, black pepper, oregano or even lemon zest for extra flavor. 

For best results, make sure the butter and water are extra cold.

You Need185g all purpose flour
100g cold butter, cubed
2-3 tbsp ice cold water
60g grated Parmesan cheese

Place the flour, butter and grated cheese in the food processor. Then pulse until the mixture resembles crumbs.

Turn the processor on medium speed and (working quickly) while it’s running, gradually add the water (1 tbsp at a time) until the dough clings and resembles a ball. Turn the machine off and transfer the dough to a clean work surface.

Gather the dough together using your fingertips and wrap it with cling film. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 450°F/280°C. Lightly grease a loose-bottom pie plate or tartlets tray if making mini pies. Set aside.

TIP  -   You can use a Mini Tartlets tray or a Cupcakes tray to make mini tarts or pies. These are very elegant to serve during cocktail parties, afternoon teas as well as make an excellent Lunch box choice for your kids.

Roll the pastry (around ¼ inch thick). Line the greased pie plate or tartlet tray holes with the pastry and trim off any excess pastry.

Blind bake the pastry in the preheated oven for 8 minutes. Remove the baking beans and reduce the oven temperature to 325°F/160°C.

Bake the pastry for 5 minutes extra (or until it is dry). Remove from the oven. Your pastry is now ready to fill with the desired filling (following the recipe).


For Tomato Tart
Tomato tarts are the simplest tarts to make, yet the most delicious to have. The vibrant tomatoes, sprinkled with green herbs look mouthwateringly beautiful in the tart shell.

You can use whole or halved cherry tomatoes, sliced assorted tomatoes and may even alternate red, green and yellow tomatoes. Be creative and remember that visual appeal is always essential and makes your food look even more delicious.

You can use tomato chutney as a base for this tart's filling
Or you can use only oven grilled tomatoes
sprinkled with olive oil and omit everything else.
Whatever you do a tomato tart is always delicious
You Need
1 recipe Savoury Shortcrust Shell (above)
1/4 cup EV olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
4 springs Thyme
Goats cheese or your preferred cheese
Cherry tomatoes or assorted tomatoes
3 tbsp pecans, toasted then roughly chopped
4 springs thyme extra
a pinch of coarse sea salt extra

Make the shell as per the instructions above, but do not over brown the shell as you bake to allow for finishing the pie in the oven. Once the pastry is dry, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix 1/4 cup olive oil with 1 crushed garlic clove, 3 rounds of the pepper mill or 1/2 tsp freshly crached black pepper, 1/2 tsp course sea salt and thyme leaves from 4 stems.

Generously brush the slightly cooled pastry with the olive oil mixture. Top with crumbled goat's cheese (or your desired cheese), and brush with the olive oil mixture. Sprinkle the roughly chopped toasted pecans and the remaining thyme leaves. Line the tomatoes to cover the whole top of the tart and brush with the remaining olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper then bake in 350°F/180°C oven for 12 minutes or until slightly golden and tomatoes start to crack.

Remove from oven and leave to cool slightly. Serve warm or cold with a side of assorted leaves dressed with a simple vinaigrette.

A simple yet fabulously delicious light lunch, snack, brunch option.... you get the drift :)

I make this with Nabulsi cheese جبنة نابلسية (A specialty cheese of the city of Nablus/Palestine) and it tastes Divine. If you have access to Nabulsi cheese, try it, you are going to love it!

If you are making this for your children's lunch box, then cheddar cheese is more popular with kids,  and the same with oregano as opposed to thyme. I would also remove the pecans as it is not safe to send anything containing nuts to school. Just in case any of the children are allergic.

(Bon Apetite in Arabic :))