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Chef’s Recipe: Summer Cherry Tomato Tart from Chef Raymond Blanc OBE
If you’ve been growing your own tomatoes in the garden and you suddenly have an abundance, this is the recipe for you. Of course, you can substitute other vegetables for the topping, depending on what else you are growing.
Summer Cherry Tomato Tart – Serves 2
Preparation time 20 mins / Cooking time 15 mins
For the tart base
- 125g all-butter puff pastry
For the filling
- Half medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing
- 1 sprig thyme
- 2 pinches sea salt
- 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
- 30 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 6 baby mozzarella balls, thinly sliced
- 8 black olives, stoned and cut into thirds
- 8 basil leaves, roughly torn
To serve (optional)
- 30g handful of basil leaves and stalks
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 100ml extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 2 pinches freshly ground white pepper
To prepare the two tart bases
Cut the puff pastry into two equal portions and shape into balls. Roll each one out on a lightly-floured surface to an 18-20cm round, 2mm thick. Ensure that the pastry is no thicker than 2mm, or it may be undercooked and soggy. Place the pastry rounds on a lightly-floured tray and freeze for 5 minutes. (When you roll puff pastry thinly, it will become warm, elastic and more difficult to handle. Resting it in the fridge or freezer allows it to relax, cool down and firm up; it will then be very easy to cut. Can be kept in the freezer, covered, until needed.)
Transfer the pastry rounds to a flat tray lined with greaseproof paper. Trim to neat 16cm discs, using a sharp knife and plate as a guide. Run the tip of a knife around the edge of the pastry about 1cm from the edge, making a shallow indent, to create a border. Place in the fridge and leave to rest for 30 minutes while you prepare the filling.
In a small plan over a low heat, soften the onion in the extra virgin olive oil with the thyme leaves, salt and pepper for about 8 minutes; do not allow the onion to colour. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary, then set aside to cool.
Preheat the over to 230 C / Gas 8. Place a baking stone or baking tray on the middle shelf to heat up. The hot baking stone or tray provides a direct heat which will seal and cook the base of the tart.
To assemble and bake the tarts
Take the puff pastry rounds out of the fridge. Spread with the onion mixture, within the border, and top with the tomato halves, packing them tightly together and overlapping them slightly. Ensure that the tomatoes and onion mixture are arranged within the border of the puff pastry, otherwise the sides will not rise up to encase the tomatoes and their wonderful juices. Brush the tomatoes and the edges of the puff pastry with extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Carefully slide the tomato-topped puff pastry rounds onto the preheated baking stone or tray in the oven and bake for 12 minutes. Remove the tarts from the oven and distribute the sliced mozzarella and olives over the tomatoes. Bake for a further 2 minutes to melt the mozzarella, then remove and set aside to rest for 5 minutes.
To make the pistou
Plunge the basil into a pan of boiling water and blanch for 3 seconds only, then remove and refresh in cold water; drain well. Puree all the pistou ingredients in a blender. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Keep in a sealed container in the fridge until required, unless using straight away.
Finish and serve
Garnish the tomato tarts with torn basil and drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil. Spoon over a little of the pistou, if serving, and hand the rest around separately.
Alternatively, book a table at Belmond le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons where Luxury Restaurant Club members enjoy a 10% reduction from the food bill when dining on Thursday or Friday for lunch, or Monday to Friday for dinner. See details.
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