Saturday, 12 April 2014

Cauliflower, Stilton & Tomato Tart, a pub favourite

While thinking of dropping into a chain pub/restaurant, I checked their menu online, probably like countless other skeptical vegetarians. Only two choices appeared, a simple pasta dish, or - cauliflower, cheese and tomato tart. That'd be good. But then again, it sounded so simple that I decided to make it at home. Cauliflower, cheese, tomato, pastry?

The freezer already contains portions of various tarts, but since I enjoy making them to eat straight from the oven, we forget to forage for them. Accordingly, I make this dish for just two portions, especially as there was half a rolled sheet of puff pastry in the freezer just asking for it. Hence the picture which looks as though the tart is topped with giant tomatoes. 

The quantities here would make four to six helpings. Once the pastry is thawed in the fridge, the tart takes about an hour from start to serving and there are no complicated manoeuvres. The step of brushing the pastry with egg and baking an initial five minutes before filling isn't vital, but it helps to form a barrier to prevent the base from becoming soggy.

Cauliflower, Stilton and Tomato Tart
The oven will need to be at 175C, middle shelf. A baking sheet ready lined with parchment will make sure the pastry doesn't stick while cooking. The pastry should be thawed, preferably overnight or for a few hours in the fridge. If you like pastry to be thin, the sheet can be rolled out to a slightly larger area.

1 sheet of frozen rolled puff pastry
1 medium cauliflower trimmed into small florets (leaves can be saved to use later)
1 tbsp oil
1 large onion (or 2 medium), peeled and coarsely chopped
2 eggs, lightly beaten
100ml double cream
100g Stilton, crumbled (or another blue cheese or Cheddar)
Half tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 large tomatoes, thinly sliced

1  Unroll the pastry and place centrally on the lined baking sheet. Turn up about 15mm
         all around the edge, pinching the corners to help keep the turn-up in place. Prick
         the base a number of times with a fork to help prevent it rising in the oven.
2  Put the oven on about now!
3  Boil a good amount of water in a large pan. Add the cauliflower and simmer 6-7 mins
         then drain well and leave to cool a little.
4  Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small pan, then saute the onions gently for 5 mins.
5  Brush the pastry case very thinly with a little of the beaten egg; put it in the oven
         for 5 mins to help seal the base, then remove from oven.
6  Add the cream to the eggs and mix well. Stir in the crumbled cheese and the salt &
7  When the tart is out, press the base down gently if it has risen. Spread the onions 
         over the base and arrange the cauliflower florets over them. Pour the egg mixture
         carefully on top, then arrange the tomato slices over the tart.
8  Bake for about 25 mins until the pastry is golden and the filling looks set.

We served this with only a heap of buttered Jersey Royals sprinkled with chopped fresh coriander. And a dry white wine.

A chopped herb of choice could be sprinkled over the tart before cooking, or sliced mushrooms added just before baking. 

An alternative presentation is to make individual tarts, either on a baking sheet using the 'turn-up' way, or using a tray of individual Yorkshire pudding tins. In this case, slightly less filling would be needed. The tart is nice at room temperature, but if there are leftovers, I think they're nicest given about 5 mins in the oven to crisp up the pastry. Shortcrust pastry would be OK and perhaps more traditional, but I'm seduced by the golden flakiness of puff pastry and always have it in the freezer. 

I keep two files of recipe cuttings and scribblings. One has ideas which sound great but are yet to be tried, but the other is the tried-and-tested collection, separated into lots of categores in a really nerdy way, e.g.starters not soup, soup, mains with pastry, mains with pasta, veg sides, biscuits/cakes.This recipe has gone straight into the latter.


  1. *sighs*

    I so love good food. And am so rubbish at cooking ... would this freeze? As I'm on my own, I need to make stuff that freezes if I go to the effort of actually cooking something.

    1. Yes, it would freeze, Jo. As I mentioned, I made half the quantity which was just right for two. You could make half quantity, either as one tart or two smaller 'individuals'. I have similar things in our freezer; would probably thaw out first then give it 5-10 mins in a moderate oven to crisp up the pastry. Thanks for your comment, by the way!