Hittin’ the note – pastry ideas

What do Elizabeth David and the Allman Brothers Band have in common? Apart from the ramblin’, they used to hit the note more often than most people.

Onion and leek tart:

  • Ingredients: Pastry: 4oz/115g plain flour, 2oz/58g butter, 1/2 egg, a sprig or two of chopped fresh lemon thyme leaves, pepper, salt.
  • Filling: One medium onion, one medium leek, two cloves of garlic, a teaspoonful of butter and another of olive oil, 2 1/2 eggs, 100-150g cream cheese/crème fraîche mixed, black pepper and salt.
  • Method: cut up the butter into cubes and add these to the flour, along with half an egg, salt and pepper and some finely chopped fresh thyme leaves. I used lemon thyme here. Stir thoroughly with a spoon and then rub the butter into the flour until you have yellow, herb speckled crumbs. Using wet hands, start bringing the dough together. Possibly adding up to 2 teaspoonfuls more of cold water, gently knead it into a ball and roll out very thinly indeed on a piece of baking parchment which you have cut to approximately the diameter of your pan base plus 5cm. Carefully lift the pastry on the parchment and fit it in the cooking dish. There should be a 2 cm+ rim all the way around. Some trimming might be required. Brush the dough with a little egg/milk mix. No need for beans but make a few small piercings in the pastry.

Bake for 10-15 minutes at 180-200°C , depending on your oven and your cooking dish. When it is solid and a very pale biscuit colour, remove from the oven to cool.

Meanwhile, finely slice one onion and a leek. Crush two cloves of garlic. Put everything in a non stick pan along with a teaspoon of butter, another of oil pepper and salt. Cook very slowly, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. The correct thing is to avoid catching the onions but I don’t mind that. When the leeks are melting take off the heat.

Combine the remaining half egg with two more. Stir in the combination of crème fraîche and cream cheese. Whisk together well.

Into the cooled pastry put a large spoonful of onion mix and spread it evenly. Then stir the remainder into the eggs and spoon into the pastry. Bake at 180°C and watch it after 20 minutes. You might prefer wobbly or solid, pale in colour or browned under the grill. Leave to rest before serving.

Goes well with salad or warm vegetables like this baked ratatouille.

Pear and marmalade slice

I made this with left over pastry from the tart above:

  • Roll out the pastry as thin as you can. If you can almost see through it you are on the right track. I had enough for a 20 cm omelette pan. Again, a piece of baking paper underneath is a good idea, but I forgot. No rim though – this pastry is flat, with the topping held in place by the curl on the edge of the pan. Pre bake the pastry as above, then spread it with a thin layer of good marmalade. Onto this lay thin slices of pear and follow this with drips of a marmalade /water mix. Bake as above for about 15 minutes and serve alone or with ice cream, but maybe not straight after the tart.

And the music? Queen Of Hearts, Gregory Allman 1973

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