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Lemon, green chilli and Cheddar tart

Cheddar tart

The idea for this came from watching pizza man Chris Bianco put loads of thinly sliced lemon on top of his ciabatta. I thought the same thing would work with a tart. This tart is fresh, the richness of the pastry is countered by the zip of lemon, the sweetness of onion and the pep of green chilli and it's rounded out with the bite of the cheddar. It's also a very friendly recipe that looks like it took a lot longer to make than it did. I've doubled this to feed a crowd.

The pastry has a very quick and fuss­ free pre-bake to make sure it's crisp, then it's topped with the cheddar, onion, lemon and chilli. It's essentially an assembly of a dish. You need to use a cold baking tray at the start so char the pastry holds its nice layers when it ges into the oven.

Duration
40 min - 1hr
Difficulty
easy
Serves
4
Cheddar tart

Ingredients

  • 1 organic egg, beaten or a little oat milk
  • 320g ready-rolled all-butter puff pastry or vegan pastry
  • 1 unwaxed lemon
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 150g good-quality mature cheddar or vegan Cheddar-style cheese
  • ½ an onion, peeled and very thinly sliced
  • 1 green chilli or jalapeño chilli, finely sliced
  • ½ a bunch of parsley and/or coriander (15g), leaves picked
  • ½ a bunch of mint (15g), leaves picked
  1. Preheat the oven and prepare the pastry base

    Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan. Beat 1 organic egg, if using, in a small bowl. Lay out the 320g ready­rolled all­butter or vegan puff pastry on a cold baking tray. Working quickly to keep it cold, score the pastry to form a rim about 1cm around the edge of the rectangle – this will form the edge of the tart once cooked. Prick the middle of the base all over with a fork and lightly brush with the beaten egg or a little oat milk. Bake in the oven for 20–25 minutes until golden.

  2. Slice and dress the lemon

    Slice three­quarters of 1 unwaxed lemon, leaving a final quarter for later. I want you to slice it really thinly here, discarding the ends, seeds and any slices that have too much pith as you go. A mandoline can be helpful. Toss the slices in 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of sea salt.

  3. Take your pastry out of the oven

    As soon as the pastry comes out of the oven, press down on the middle rectangle of the base (which will have puffed up a little), flattening the middle of the pastry ready for the toppings and leaving a nice risen border around the outside. Turn the oven up to 220°C/200°C fan.

  4. Assemble the tart and bake

    Scatter 150g grated Cheddar or vegan Cheddar evenly over the baked pastry base, followed by
    1⁄2 an onion, peeled and very thinly sliced, the dressed lemon and finally 1 finely sliced green chilli. Return to the oven for 15 minutes and bake until the pastry is deep golden and the cheese is bubbling.

  5. Make the herb salad

    Put the picked leaves from 1⁄2 a bunch of parsley and/or coriander and 1⁄2 a bunch of mint into a small bowl with the juice from the remaining quarter of a lemon and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, then toss to dress the leaves.

  6. To serve

    Remove the tart from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving with the dressed herbs.

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